Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation breathes life into fight
against foreclosure epidemic
January 7, 2010
Aid of North Carolina (LANC)
announced today that the
Z. Smith Reynolds
Foundation will continue its vital support for LANC by renewing
a major grant of $450,000 for its Home Defense Project.
Home Defense Project (HDP) fights to save homes and reduce
foreclosures in North Carolina.
In North Carolina, home foreclosures are
expected to exceed 50,000 in 2010.
"At a time of tremendous financial stress and declining revenue for
foundations, a renewed award in such a substantial amount is both a
solid statement of support for the work and an indication of the
profound impact the still-expanding foreclosure epidemic is having
on communities," said Hazel Mack, HDP project
director and senior managing attorney for LANC. "The
grant is recognition that creative legal strategies are essential if
working families are to be kept from homelessness and if we are to
stabilize our neighborhoods and our communities throughout the state
in the wake of this crisis.
The HDP is a collaboration of seven nonprofit organizations:
Legal Aid of North Carolina, the NC Justice
Legal Services of
Land Loss Prevention Project, the
Center and the
Through a combination of skillful negotiation, aggressive
litigation, and community education, the HDP over the last three
years has saved thousands of homes from foreclosure and preserved
millions of dollars in equity for low-wealth working families.
The project has also trained hundreds of housing counselors who
engage in much of the frontline work.
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation provided initial support for the
nascent HDP when the fight was against predatory and abusive
"The Foundation has never waivered in its support for foreclosure
defense work," noted Mack. "As the
crisis has death-spiraled into the financial markets and then into
the economy as a whole -- even as its own revenue declined--the
Foundation has never reduced support for the project."
LANC and its legal services partners on the HDF use their legal
skills and resources to seek reasonable loan modifications when they
can, and they aggressively litigate when they must.
The loan modification process is a morass--creditor
incentives are too often non-existent--and the process in each case
is unique and requires a skillful, patient lawyer.
Collaboration among the HDF partners allows the HDP to serve
every county in the state with high-quality foreclosure defense
In addition, the NC Justice Center (NCJC) and the Financial Protection Law
Center provide litigation
support and analysis on impact cases. The NCJC
also assists with training and the implementation of best practices,
tactics and strategies for individual cases. The
NC Housing Coalition designs and coordinates outreach and education
in support of the project by holding community forums to educate
consumers, link them with legal advocates and engage community
members in articulating policy solutions.
“Without the vision and leadership of the Z. Smith Reynolds
Foundation, the foreclosure and economic crisis in our state would
be much worse,” said George Hausen, LANC’s executive director.
“Foreclosures in North Carolina are up nearly 200% over the past few
years, and the Foundation’s enlightened understanding of the problem
and its scope has enabled us to help thousands of families who
otherwise faced financial ruin and homelessness."
The Z. Smith
Reynolds Foundation was established in 1936 and has given more
than $366 million in grants to projects in all 100 North Carolina counties.
The Foundation now gives special attention to the following
focus areas: community economic development; democracy and civic
engagement; environment; pre-collegiate education; and social
justice and equity. For additional information
about the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, visit its website,
Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC)
is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services
in civil matters to eligible, low-income people in all 100 counties
in North Carolina through its 24
geographically located offices in North Carolina. For
additional information about LANC, visit LANC's website,
Hazel M. Mack (Project Director, Home Defense Project; Senior
Managing Attorney, LANC), Winston-Salem, NC, 336-725-9162
George Hausen (Executive Director, LANC), Raleigh, NC, 919-856-2564
Dock Kornegay (Director, Public Relations & Development, LANC),
Raleigh, NC, 919-856-2564
The materials contained on this website
are for information and educational purposes only and do not
constitute legal advice.
Also please note that Legal Aid of North Carolina does not
provide legal assistance by E-mail. Contact your Legal Aid of
North Carolina office or a private attorney if you need to speak
to an attorney regarding your particular situation.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that
provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in
order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers
to economic opportunity.