A new legal service has been established to assist people, who are in the process of having their homes repossessed. The new service will provide specialist advice and representation to help borrowers who are having problems with their mortgage and other debt issues.
“This new service is in response to the growing need arising from families experiencing greater financial stress as a result of the global financial crisis. It is important that help is available at the earliest opportunity and where possible, families are able to prevent a situation where they become homeless” said Mr Kirkland, CEO of Legal Aid NSW.
The new service is being developed by the NSW Consumer Credit Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW, and will provide greater access to financial counselling services, expert legal advice and representation.
Karen Cox, Coordinator of the NSW Consumer Credit Legal Centre said “the service will assist homeowners in financial difficulty to better understand their options and, wherever possible, to avoid repossession of their home”.
Legal Aid NSW also conducts specialist advice clinics for homeless people in Western Sydney where increasing numbers of people are at risk of becoming homeless as a result of the economic downturn.
“These clinics are designed to overcome some of the fundamental barriers faced by homeless people, or people who are at risk of homelessness, in accessing legal services by providing face-to-face legal services in locations that are familiar and frequently visited by homeless people” said Mr Kirkland, CEO of Legal Aid NSW.
Karen Cox said “these services are vital to assist people overcome legal issues, such as debt problems, in order to try and prevent families from becoming homeless”.
“Legal Aid NSW will place additional solicitors in Parramatta—servicing Western and South Western Sydney and Gosford—servicing the Central Coast and Hunter regions. These locations have been selected because they cover the top five areas of mortgage arrears in NSW,” said Mr Kirkland.
Legal Aid NSW has also published the Mortgage Stress Handbook, a free user-friendly guide for people experiencing difficulty. Since the book was released in January this year, 4,700 copies have been distributed. The Mortgage Stress Handbook and a brochure on mortgage stress are available at www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au.
For more information about help available for people experiencing difficulties with their mortgage, call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.