March 7, 2013
***National Consumer Protection Week Consumer Alert***
Carson City, NV – As part of the 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week Attorney General (AG) Catherine Cortez Masto is recommending Nevadans learn about free legal assistance programs which may be available to them.
As part of the Home Again program, which was officially launched by AG Masto’s office in January 2013, some free legal services, specifically address housing and mortgage issues, are available to help Nevadans who are facing foreclosure, as well as those who have already gone through foreclosure.
“National Consumer Protection Week is a great opportunity to educate those living in the Silver State about the importance of utilizing free legal assistance,” said Masto. “Not many people know about the free direct legal representation available to distressed borrowers.”
Home Again is a partnership between the AG’s office, Financial Guidance Center (FGC), Nevada Legal Services (NLS), and Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Participating HUD-approved agencies in the program include: FGC, NLS, Housing for Nevada, Women’s Development Center, Community Services of Nevada, Neighborhood Housing Service, Novadebt, Springboard, and Chicanos Por La Causa. More information about the program and an online interest form are available at www.HomeAgainNevada.gov.
Free Legal Assistance in Southern Nevada
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has a variety of free resources for homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes. At the Civil Law Self-Help Center (inside the Regional Justice Center) Legal Aid Center staffs two full-time paralegals who are available to answer general foreclosure and HOA related questions. Services also include scheduling intake appointments for those who may qualify for free legal representation.
Legal Aid Center also offers the only Foreclosure Ask-A-Lawyer (AAL) program twice a month at the Civil Law Self-Help Center available to unrepresented individuals going through foreclosure seeking legal advice on their rights. This program, held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, provides homeowners with a free consultation with an attorney for up to 30 minutes to discuss their mortgage related issues.
Additionally, twice a month, an attorney with Legal Aid Center presents a free legal information class which is geared towards homeowners. The goal of this class is to educate homeowners about the various programs and options available to them concerning their home, regardless of whether the homeowner is behind in his/her payments.
The next AAL program is March 12 in Las Vegas and the next foreclosure class is March 19 in Las Vegas. Details of all of these free programs can be found at www.lacsn.org.
Free Legal Assistance in Northern and Southern Nevada
Nevada Legal Services, Inc. (NLS), which has offices in Reno, Carson, and Elko as well as Las Vegas, also has numerous resources available for homeowners facing foreclosure, financial difficulties, eviction, or other consumer law issues. Monthly classes for homeowners on foreclosure, mediation and bankruptcy are offered at their Reno office. NLS will host a Foreclosure Information Clinic in its Las Vegas office (530 S. 6th St.) today, March 7 from 3-4:30 p.m.
The Reno office has three full-time HUD-certified housing counselors who are specifically trained on the most current options available in loan modifications, including but not limited to Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), and Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). The Las Vegas office has five full-time HUD-certified housing counselors. With access to the Hope LoanPort (a national web based portal created to streamline the loan modification process) to expedite the loan modification application process, these housing counselors focus exclusively on helping homeowners modify their home loans, whether they are current on their monthly payments or not.
The Reno office has expanded its bankruptcy assistance to homeowners, adding self-help classes for pro se petition preparation and assisting with chapter 13 petitions for applicants below certain income guidelines. Details can be obtained from Renee Kelly at Nevada Legal Services, Inc. at 775-284-3491.
This consumer alert is part of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 3-9, 2013. Starting Monday, March 4 and running through Friday, March 8, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office will issue daily consumer alerts relevant to Nevadans.
More information about NCPW is also available at ncpw.gov. Consumer Protection information can also be found on the Attorney General’s website (ag.nv.gov), and the Federal Trade Commission’s website (ftc.gov).