War Veteran Gets Free Legal Help to Fight Foreclosure - NBC 6 South Florida
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War Veteran Gets Free Legal Help to Fight Foreclosure

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    War Veteran Gets Free Legal Help to Fight Foreclosure

    The NBC 6 Responds team gets a lot of calls from people who need legal help but can't afford an attorney so we went in search of agencies that provide legal assistance for free. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    The NBC 6 Responds team gets a lot of calls from people who need legal help but can’t afford an attorney so we went in search of agencies that provide legal assistance for free.

    There are a number of non-profit organizations that offer free legal assistance in both Miami-Dade and Broward. 

    They mostly serve low-income clients but because they get funding from different groups, they can sometimes help other people in need, including veterans, regardless of their income.

    That's the case of a navy veteran who only wants to be referred to as Carlos.

    "I've been in Afghanistan and served in the operation Iraqi Freedom," he said.

    After four years abroad, Carlos said he never expected to have to come home to another fight: one with the bank that holds his mortgage.

    "We worked hard for our house and we have four children and we loved our house, we didn’t want to lose it to foreclosure," he said.

    Carlos and his wife, Georgette, say they had a change of income last year and began falling behind on their mortgage payments.

    "We were sending partial payments for like two months and immediately the bank took action and started the foreclosure process," Georgette explains.

    For Georgette, the hardest part was watching her husband deal with another battle.

    "He wasn’t even able to see the birth of his first son and now again having to fight to keep the house so that the first son and all the children could have a roof, it was really stressful, " she says.  

    The couple realized they needed help dealing with the bank’s attorneys and turned to Legal Aid of Broward, a non-profit organization that provides free legal help.

    "We provide a variety of legal services for mostly low-income residents of Broward county," says James Heaton, an attorney for Legal Aid of Broward. 

    To receive assistance there, you need to be Broward county resident. Click here to contact the agency to see if you qualify for any of their services. 

    "We go anywhere from senior, you know, to children’s needs, in between, housing, landlord tenant issues , regular civil claims, a lot of family law," says Heaton. If a client is not eligible for their services for whatever reason, Heaton says they can "refer them to the Broward county bar association who has a low cost attorney referral network." 

    If you live in Miami you can contact Dade Legal Aid or Legal Services of Greater Miami

    Carlos and Georgette say with the help of Legal Aid they were able to stop the threatening letters, negotiate with the bank to lower their monthly payments and keep their home. When asked how much the process cost them, Georgette smiled and answered, "zero dollars, nothing out of our pocket." 

    Legal Aid of Broward serves over 16,000 residents a year.