Attorney General Gansler and Maryland DHCD Award $7.6 Million to Provide Greater Legal Aid Services for Distressed Maryland Homeowners
Six Baltimore-based organizations expect to assist 10,000 more consumers
Baltimore, MD ( Jan. 10, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) today awarded six nonprofit legal aid and assistance organizations more than $7.6 million to expand programs that help homeowners and renters harmed by the nationwide housing crisis. The funds, which will be disbursed over a three-year period, originated from the $26 billion National Mortgage Settlement and were augmented by DHCD. More than 10,000 Maryland families are expected to benefit from the grants announced today. An estimated 2,500 more families are expected to benefit from three additional grants awarded to organizations in other regions of the state.
"Marylanders harmed by mortgage lenders and the housing crisis they created frequently need a legal advocate to pursue justice for themselves and their families," said Attorney General Gansler. "With this effort, we're putting more mortgage settlement dollars to work helping Marylanders facing foreclosure and other housing-related struggles."
"The O'Malley-Brown Administration has worked since the beginning of the housing crisis to ensure that nonprofit legal services and housing counseling services are available to consumers in their communities," said Assistant Secretary Carol Gilbert, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development. "This strong collaboration between the OAG's office and DHCD will greatly expand consumer access to such services."
The organizations awarded grants announced today are:
- Maryland Legal Aid Bureau $3,608,286.00
- Civil Justice, Inc. $1,433,759.00
- Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Services $930,275.00
- St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Inc. $600,000.00
- Pro Bono Resource Center $565,000.00
- Public Justice Center, Inc. $510,000.00
The six legal aid and assistance organizations will expand legal representation and related services for homeowners facing foreclosure, trouble with their mortgage payments, foreclosure mediations, loan modifications, debt collection, eviction proceedings and to assist homeowners with their legal questions at foreclosure prevention workshops and educational programs.
Under the National Mortgage Settlement, Marylanders will receive an estimated $900 million in direct benefits. As part of the settlement, Maryland also received nearly $60 million in funds which were allocated by Attorney General Gansler based on recommendations from the Attorney General's Mortgage Settlement Funds Workgroup. In accordance with the settlement, the money will go primarily to housing-related services and projects, including $6.2 million for legal aid and assistance.
Maryland DHCD allocated an additional $2.8 million in state funds from the Maryland Housing Counseling Fund. The $9 million total has been awarded to nine nonprofits across the state. In addition to the six Baltimore-based nonprofits, many of which serve clients statewide, awards to organizations based in Prince George's County and the Eastern Shore will be announced in the coming weeks. A $200,000 grant to the Allegany Law Foundation in Cumberland was presented in December.
According to the Federal Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, as of September 30, 2012 nearly 7,000 Marylanders have received more than $550 million in assistance such as home mortgage modifications, principal reductions, deficiency waivers, refinancing and short sale financial assistance.
For more information on the Mortgage Settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers - Ally/GMAC, Bank of America (Countrywide), Citi Bank, JPMorgan Chase (WaMu) and Wells Fargo (Wachovia) - visit Attorney General Gansler's website:
For more information about the allocation of nearly $60 million in settlement funds, visit:
For more information about the Federal Monitor's Report, visit:
To read the report "Continued Progress: A Report from the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement" visit: http://www.oag.state.md.us/mortgageSettlement/Monitor_Progress_Report_Nov2012.pdf
Additional information is available at:
The picture above includes:
Attorney General Doug Gansler
Assistant Secretary Carol Gilbert, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development
And the Executive Directors of the six legal aid organizations
- Wilhelm Joseph, Jr. (Event Host) - Maryland Legal Aid Bureau
- Michael Millemann - Civil Justice (Acting ED)
- Bonnie Sullivan - Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Services
- Sharon Goldsmith - Pro Bono Resource Center
- John Nethercut - Public Justice Center, Inc.
- Gerard Joab - St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center