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16,000 foreclosure cases for Ohio Legal Aid since 2008
Demand for free legal help is up while funds are declining
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


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Kabir Bhatia
 
The Legal Aid Society says its lawyers completed more than 16,000 foreclosure cases for Ohio homeowners since 2008. But as WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports, resources are shrinking as demand is growing.
16,000 foreclosure cases for Ohio Legal Aid since 2008

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The Ohio Legal Aid Society says it's saved more than 2,300 homes since 2008 using both its own lawyers and volunteer attorneys in private practice.

And calls for free legal help have jumped about 60 percent over those four years. But funds -- which come from federal grants, donations and court fees and interest – are drying up.

Spokeswoman Jane Taylor says Legal Aid had to use its discretionary fund for foreclosure cases.

"When the foreclosure crisis hit, the board made a determination by agreement with all of the legal aid societies, that those discretionary funds ought to be directed at helping to solve and ameliorate the foreclosure crisis."

Legal aid is available to anyone who makes up to 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $14,000 a year for a single person.

The agency’s annual report shows that foreclosures made up about a quarter of the society's cases last year, while 35 percent of cases were related to employment issues such as collecting back pay and over time.
 
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