Foley garners $50,000 for workshop at Touro Law Center
By EMILY PORTOGHESE
May 14, 2009
Free financial counseling will be available to Suffolk County residents in financial crises with the Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Law Clinic at Touro Law Center, developed due to a $50,000 grant secured by State Senator Brian X. Foley (D-Blue Point).
Touro Law Center Dean Lawrence Raful and Central Islip Civic Council Executive Director Nancy Manfredonia joined Foley for a press conference at the law school last Thursday. This clinic will serve residents from Central Islip, which Foley noted was one of the areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, and the surrounding communities.
With 13 percent of home foreclosures in New York State occurring in this county, Foley noted Suffolk has the second highest number of foreclosures in the entire state.
Starting in the fall, the clinic will pair law students specializing in foreclosure and bankruptcy law with clients such as homeowners in danger of losing their homes, individuals filing for bankruptcy, and people who have received notices from their bank. Their service is free and the law students will be supervised by faculty members.
Raful noted many vacant homes, as well as several homes bound for foreclosure, are located “right across the street” from Touro, and emphasized the value of this clinic to the nearby residents.
“It will enable law students to help some of the most vulnerable citizens in our local community while providing valuable skills training in a vital area of the law,” he said.
Additional funding commitments for this law clinic have been secured from various local banks, including a $30,000, three-year commitment from Capital One Bank and a commitment from Astoria Federal Savings. Foleysaid having the private sector involved in this project is “an important part of the equation.”
Manfredonia noted the foreclosure crisis, as well as keeping track of all the vacant/foreclosured homes and who owns them, has been the council’s “toughest challenge over the years.”
She is optimistic that the free help this clinic would offer will allow people who are desperate for assistance to keep their homes and stay away from scammers who might take their money.
Vacant homes and those in foreclosure are already adversely affecting property values, Manfredonia noted, and added how difficult it is to find out who owns these
homes to involve the responsible parties. “The creation of this clinic is such great news,” Manfredonia said.
“From day one, Touro has been a good neighbor.” Foley recognized Touro for their leadership on this critical issue and noted he is hopeful this clinic may help to turn the tide on foreclosures and bankruptcy in the county.
He noted that creating this clinic is something we all wish did not have to be done, but emphasized it is the reality of the economic times we are living in. “With success from this important initiative and the hard work of the individuals who work here, we will help our communities turn the corner and build a stronger, more prosperous Long Island,” Foley said.
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