Free legal help for Alabamians facing foreclosures

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a sign of the times across the country, home foreclosed, and Alabama is no exception.

"I would say between 2 to 4 thousand people," said Tom Methvin.

Methvin is a Montgomery attorney who is chairing the Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force, a program put together by the Alabama State Bar.

"What the state bar has decided to do is come up with a state program to give free legal advice to anybody about to lose their home," said Methvin.

The idea is to avoid bankruptcy by working out a deal between homeowners and the lenders.

"The typical story will be someone making payments for years and years and maybe they lost their job and not able to make payments and they don't know what to do," said Methvin.

There's also the scenario where the lender knowingly added unnecessary fees to the monthly mortgage bill.

"They'll be able to get free legal advice.. get a lawyer.. work with the lender and work it out. In some cases a free lawyer to litigate if they need to. For instance, the way the lender made loans violated the law and charged high rates," said Methvin.

To be fair overly aggressive lenders aren't the only ones who contributed to the current housing crisis. Homeowners who knew deep down they couldn't afford their home played a part as well. Still:

"They still have legal rights. There are certain legal protections. A man's home is his castle," said Methvin.

A castle so many apparently want to hold on to. Public service announcements airing in the Mobile and Huntsville television markets advertising the free legal service have generated hundreds of calls to the mortgage foreclosure hotline.

"Early intervention is really important," said Methvin.

The hotline number is: 1-877-393-2333.

How can this be free? The Alabama Civil Justice Foundation and Access to Justice Commission of Alabama raised $50,000 to hire a lawyer for one year.