Budget Cuts Imperil Legal Aid in Foreclosure Cases

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(New York Times) — In the large immigrant community of Jamaica, Queens, which is ground zero of New York City’s foreclosure crisis, a small squad of young lawyers fans out to local courts every day to do battle with lenders, negotiate hard-fought changes to onerous loans and provide free legal representation to low-income homeowners about to lose their homes.  Now, however, the anti-foreclosure team itself is facing foreclosure.  The state’s budget squeeze has put at risk more than 120 legal aid and homeowner-counseling agencies across the state that have provided a last-ditch legal and economic lifeline to thousands of distressed homeowners.  “I am not sure I will have enough money to pay my staff by the end of this year,” said Jennifer Ching, the project director of Queens Legal Services, one of the groups whose future is threatened. “New York could soon find itself with thousands of unrepresented homeowners who risk falling through the cracks.”

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