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1998 July - August

Guarding Against Servicer Abuses

By Nika Elugardo

Mortgage servicers often fail to give low-income homeowners the information, advice, and assistance that they need when faced with foreclosure. Through innovative techniques and new laws, advocates can help clients both communicate with servicers and sustain homeownership.

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Sustaining Low-Income Homeownership

Advocates Needed

By Nika Elugardo & Gary Klein

Low-income individuals and families are among the fastest-growing segments of homeowners in the United States. Unfortunately with the increased homeownership rate has come an increase in foreclosures. Counseling and other advocacy efforts should be available to help low-income homeowners avoid foreclosure and build equity. One such effort, the Massachusetts Foreclosure Prevention Project, is a model for other homeownership sustainability programs.

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Dusting Off the Declaratory Judgment Act

A Broad Remedy for Classwide Violations of Federal Law

By Gary F. Smith & Nu Usaha

Legal services advocates for years were able to enjoin government policies that hurt poor clients; today programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation may neither initiate nor participate in class action litigation. The Declaratory Judgment Act affords advocates an alternative strategy to help clients gain relief from unfair or unconstitutional policies.

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Tax-Increment Financing

Urban Renewal of the 1990s

By Marc Jolin, Sharon Legenza & Matt McDermott

The reality of "urban renewal" through tax-increment financing is that poor persons are being displaced all in the name of entrepreneurship and development. The Illinois experience shows how communities may organize, how attorneys may build litigation strategies, and how both groups may work together to reform legislation that oftentimes further empowers the entities with the most money.

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