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Attorneys in civil courts make bigger impact working the system than knowing …


IMAGE

IMAGE: Attorneys’ knowledge of the law plays only a small part in their impact in some civil courts, says Illinois professor Rebecca Sandefur, supporting the idea that other kinds of legal…
view more

Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Civil courts are where many people meet the legal system, dealing with life-altering issues like foreclosure, bankruptcy and child custody.

It’s likely no surprise that those with attorneys – often a small minority – are much more likely to see a better outcome compared to those representing themselves. But according to a new study in a leading sociology journal, the difference is significant, even “spectacular.”

More surprising, perhaps, is that lawyers’ deep knowledge of the law explains little of their impact in these kinds of cases, says study author Rebecca Sandefur, a University of Illinois professor of sociology and of law. Most of it comes instead from other kinds of expertise: assisting with relatively simple procedures, as well as navigating the relationships involved in getting things done.

“Lawyers go to law school for three years, they study lots of cases, they learn a lot of law. You would think that that’s what would make a difference,” Sandefur said. “But for this set of problems, what lawyers seem to do that makes a difference is understand how to move paper around, and show up at what office at what time, and phrase things in the magic words that law understands.”

They also often keep courts honest just by their presence, Sandefur said. Courts with large caseloads, such as many immigration and eviction courts, often become “lawless” in not following their own procedures or rules of evidence, she said. The government, landlord or other institution usually has an attorney, but the individual rarely does.

“When a lawyer shows up on those cases, it makes everyone stop and think that maybe this case is different … and maybe we should actually use the law while we’re making this decision,” she said.

Sandefur’s article in the journal American Sociological Review is a study of studies, or a meta-analysis, that takes in 17 previous studies conducted over more than four decades, representing about 18,000 cases. It was published online this week and will appear in the journal’s October issue.

Because the studies Sandefur looked at were of various designs and were conducted in different times and places, she had to compare broad ranges of outcomes rather than specific numbers. But she concludes in her study that the impact of lawyers in civil cases is “potentially very large” and “spectacular when compared to lay people’s attempts at self-representation.” The evidence suggests, she writes, that “expanding access to attorneys could radically change the outcomes of adjudicated civil cases.”

The problem, however, is that giving everyone an attorney “is completely impractical and too expensive for any nation in the world to fund,” Sandefur said. One alternative is to figure out what lawyers are doing that makes a difference and doesn’t require law school and find other ways to provide it, she said.

In her research, Sandefur looked at the impact of nonlawyer or “lawyer lite” advocates providing that kind of assistance. The outcomes for attorneys were better on average, she found, but “the difference (in outcomes) between those specialized workers and attorneys was much smaller than the difference between people on their own and those with attorneys,” she said.

(Sandefur is currently doing follow-up research on two nonlawyer assistance programs, one in New York City and the other in Washington state. Other examples can be found in many European countries, she said.)

Individuals trying to deal with the court system often lose out for lack of even basic assistance, Sandefur said. “These cases can be very high stakes and they’re also really common.” Over one million people, for instance, go through eviction actions every year.

“So much of our attention on the justice system has been on the criminal side,” Sandefur said, “that this is kind of hidden in many ways from the conversation about justice.”

###

Editor’s notes:

To reach Rebecca Sandefur, call 217-333-6100; email sandefur@illinois.edu.

The study, “Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers’ Impact,” is available online (access may be restricted).

In previous work, Sandefur has studied the uneven distribution of legal aid by state and how most people deal with civil legal problems on their own.

Article source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/uoia-aic090315.php

SWARTZMAN: Our haunted University

In his speech Saturday to the freshman class, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway reflected on the clash between the imperialist and slave-driven “history we inherit” and the magnanimous “future we aspire to create.”

To be a Yalie is to be an engaged citizen — of the University and the world — so these are questions that we need to think through together: What should we do with the artifacts of a past that now offends us? Do we leave them in view to haunt us?

In order for Yale students to be engaged in the present, the first step is to stop pretending that the only history that haunts Yale is in the past.

Even though Yale hasn’t opened its books for public scrutiny, one can piece together that, through its capital and new investments, Yale continues to uphold the tradition of profiting from the exploitation of black communities. To a substantial extent, the recent success of Yale’s investment portfolio, and therefore Yale as an institution, grew from the same roots as the foreclosure crisis, a crisis which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

In the years leading up to the 2007–’08 foreclosure crisis, the Yale endowment received approximately a fifth of its revenue from direct or indirect ownership shares in land or from land speculation. It allocated as much investment to real estate as it could while still meeting its own criteria for a balanced portfolio. This meant that Yale had an interest in rising land prices, and therefore profited from the housing boom that inflated land prices in U.S. cities. One real estate firm that managed Yale’s money, the Shorenstein Company, has properties in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and L.A. — reflecting an investment in urban development across the U.S.

At the same time, Chief Investment Officer David Swensen also bet against the mortgage market, which is, in a sense, a bet on the bubble bursting, on a foreclosure crisis, on a devaluation of home values and on vacant houses. Skeptical that real estate prices could rise indefinitely, Swenson asked an outside manager to make “what Swensen calls a ‘supersize’ bet against subprime-mortgage-backed securities, which paid off when the real estate market collapsed,” as a 2009 article in the Upstart Business Journal put it. Or, in the more official terminology of the 2013 Endowment Report, “Yale’s active outperformance is due to successful exploitation of market inefficiencies and timely pursuit of contrarian investment strategies,” which allowed for that 7.2 percent annualized return during an especially rocky decade in the real estate market. This is significant because it means that Swensen continued to seek profits from the growing speculation on urban and suburban land prices, while still realizing that such speculation would not last and would likely end in a bursting bubble and massive waves of foreclosures.

Through Swensen’s investments, Yale had a speculative interest in increasing land value, a speculative interest in plummeting housing prices and a wall of cash to protect itself from the foreseeable consequences of that speculation: mass foreclosures, evictions and displacement.

Furthermore, thanks to this absentee-owner land speculation, Yale could also speculate on local land and encourage gentrification in New Haven. Yale did this indirectly through investment in the Yale campus, and directly through off-campus investment policies.

Despite Holloway’s plea for civic engagement, Yale’s corporate goals are specifically undermining the critical reflection he is encouraging. In a report released in 2011, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization wrote that Yale has “a corporate model that prioritizes arbitrary benchmarks and ‘results,’ and sets constraining limits on the type of research that can be performed.” As a result of this corporate model, Stephanie Greenlea, former co-chair of GESO, described how relatively newer departments like African-American Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies which “have not amassed the sort of alumni donation pool, or endowment, or extra resources,” are under threat of increased cuts, as opposed to more traditional departments like political science and economics. Yale’s budgeting threatens to force out some of those academic disciplines that would be able to critically analyze a foreclosure crisis that has overwhelmingly affected African-Americans and women.

As a university, each of Yale’s buildings can only honor the name of one racist oppressor at a time; but as an investment corporation, Yale has helped raise the banner of “foreclosed” across millions of homes in urban communities in New Haven and throughout the U.S., carrying on a legacy of landlessness and racist appropriation. Holloway portrays this as Yale’s ancient history when, in fact, the haunting artifacts of Yale’s past offenses have barely gathered dust. What do you call a person haunted by the living? Hanna-Barbera called them Scooby Doo. Marx called them the bourgeoisie. Holloway calls them a Yalie.

Simon Swartzman is a 2010 graduate of Ezra Stiles College and an anti-foreclosure advocate based in Chicago. Contact him at simon.swartzman@gmail.com .

Article source: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/09/03/our-haunted-university/

SWARTZMAN: Our haunted University

In his speech Saturday to the freshman class, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway reflected on the clash between the imperialist and slave-driven “history we inherit” and the magnanimous “future we aspire to create.”

To be a Yalie is to be an engaged citizen — of the University and the world — so these are questions that we need to think through together: What should we do with the artifacts of a past that now offends us? Do we leave them in view to haunt us?

In order for Yale students to be engaged in the present, the first step is to stop pretending that the only history that haunts Yale is in the past.

Even though Yale hasn’t opened its books for public scrutiny, one can piece together that, through its capital and new investments, Yale continues to uphold the tradition of profiting from the exploitation of black communities. To a substantial extent, the recent success of Yale’s investment portfolio, and therefore Yale as an institution, grew from the same roots as the foreclosure crisis, a crisis which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

In the years leading up to the 2007–’08 foreclosure crisis, the Yale endowment received approximately a fifth of its revenue from direct or indirect ownership shares in land or from land speculation. It allocated as much investment to real estate as it could while still meeting its own criteria for a balanced portfolio. This meant that Yale had an interest in rising land prices, and therefore profited from the housing boom that inflated land prices in U.S. cities. One real estate firm that managed Yale’s money, the Shorenstein Company, has properties in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and L.A. — reflecting an investment in urban development across the U.S.

At the same time, Chief Investment Officer David Swensen also bet against the mortgage market, which is, in a sense, a bet on the bubble bursting, on a foreclosure crisis, on a devaluation of home values and on vacant houses. Skeptical that real estate prices could rise indefinitely, Swenson asked an outside manager to make “what Swensen calls a ‘supersize’ bet against subprime-mortgage-backed securities, which paid off when the real estate market collapsed,” as a 2009 article in the Upstart Business Journal put it. Or, in the more official terminology of the 2013 Endowment Report, “Yale’s active outperformance is due to successful exploitation of market inefficiencies and timely pursuit of contrarian investment strategies,” which allowed for that 7.2 percent annualized return during an especially rocky decade in the real estate market. This is significant because it means that Swensen continued to seek profits from the growing speculation on urban and suburban land prices, while still realizing that such speculation would not last and would likely end in a bursting bubble and massive waves of foreclosures.

Through Swensen’s investments, Yale had a speculative interest in increasing land value, a speculative interest in plummeting housing prices and a wall of cash to protect itself from the foreseeable consequences of that speculation: mass foreclosures, evictions and displacement.

Furthermore, thanks to this absentee-owner land speculation, Yale could also speculate on local land and encourage gentrification in New Haven. Yale did this indirectly through investment in the Yale campus, and directly through off-campus investment policies.

Despite Holloway’s plea for civic engagement, Yale’s corporate goals are specifically undermining the critical reflection he is encouraging. In a report released in 2011, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization wrote that Yale has “a corporate model that prioritizes arbitrary benchmarks and ‘results,’ and sets constraining limits on the type of research that can be performed.” As a result of this corporate model, Stephanie Greenlea, former co-chair of GESO, described how relatively newer departments like African-American Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies which “have not amassed the sort of alumni donation pool, or endowment, or extra resources,” are under threat of increased cuts, as opposed to more traditional departments like political science and economics. Yale’s budgeting threatens to force out some of those academic disciplines that would be able to critically analyze a foreclosure crisis that has overwhelmingly affected African-Americans and women.

As a university, each of Yale’s buildings can only honor the name of one racist oppressor at a time; but as an investment corporation, Yale has helped raise the banner of “foreclosed” across millions of homes in urban communities in New Haven and throughout the U.S., carrying on a legacy of landlessness and racist appropriation. Holloway portrays this as Yale’s ancient history when, in fact, the haunting artifacts of Yale’s past offenses have barely gathered dust. What do you call a person haunted by the living? Hanna-Barbera called them Scooby Doo. Marx called them the bourgeoisie. Holloway calls them a Yalie.

Simon Swartzman is a 2010 graduate of Ezra Stiles College and an anti-foreclosure advocate based in Chicago. Contact him at simon.swartzman@gmail.com .

Article source: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/09/03/our-haunted-university/

Attorneys in civil courts make bigger impact working the system than knowing …


IMAGE

IMAGE: Attorneys’ knowledge of the law plays only a small part in their impact in some civil courts, says Illinois professor Rebecca Sandefur, supporting the idea that other kinds of legal…
view more

Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Civil courts are where many people meet the legal system, dealing with life-altering issues like foreclosure, bankruptcy and child custody.

It’s likely no surprise that those with attorneys – often a small minority – are much more likely to see a better outcome compared to those representing themselves. But according to a new study in a leading sociology journal, the difference is significant, even “spectacular.”

More surprising, perhaps, is that lawyers’ deep knowledge of the law explains little of their impact in these kinds of cases, says study author Rebecca Sandefur, a University of Illinois professor of sociology and of law. Most of it comes instead from other kinds of expertise: assisting with relatively simple procedures, as well as navigating the relationships involved in getting things done.

“Lawyers go to law school for three years, they study lots of cases, they learn a lot of law. You would think that that’s what would make a difference,” Sandefur said. “But for this set of problems, what lawyers seem to do that makes a difference is understand how to move paper around, and show up at what office at what time, and phrase things in the magic words that law understands.”

They also often keep courts honest just by their presence, Sandefur said. Courts with large caseloads, such as many immigration and eviction courts, often become “lawless” in not following their own procedures or rules of evidence, she said. The government, landlord or other institution usually has an attorney, but the individual rarely does.

“When a lawyer shows up on those cases, it makes everyone stop and think that maybe this case is different … and maybe we should actually use the law while we’re making this decision,” she said.

Sandefur’s article in the journal American Sociological Review is a study of studies, or a meta-analysis, that takes in 17 previous studies conducted over more than four decades, representing about 18,000 cases. It was published online this week and will appear in the journal’s October issue.

Because the studies Sandefur looked at were of various designs and were conducted in different times and places, she had to compare broad ranges of outcomes rather than specific numbers. But she concludes in her study that the impact of lawyers in civil cases is “potentially very large” and “spectacular when compared to lay people’s attempts at self-representation.” The evidence suggests, she writes, that “expanding access to attorneys could radically change the outcomes of adjudicated civil cases.”

The problem, however, is that giving everyone an attorney “is completely impractical and too expensive for any nation in the world to fund,” Sandefur said. One alternative is to figure out what lawyers are doing that makes a difference and doesn’t require law school and find other ways to provide it, she said.

In her research, Sandefur looked at the impact of nonlawyer or “lawyer lite” advocates providing that kind of assistance. The outcomes for attorneys were better on average, she found, but “the difference (in outcomes) between those specialized workers and attorneys was much smaller than the difference between people on their own and those with attorneys,” she said.

(Sandefur is currently doing follow-up research on two nonlawyer assistance programs, one in New York City and the other in Washington state. Other examples can be found in many European countries, she said.)

Individuals trying to deal with the court system often lose out for lack of even basic assistance, Sandefur said. “These cases can be very high stakes and they’re also really common.” Over one million people, for instance, go through eviction actions every year.

“So much of our attention on the justice system has been on the criminal side,” Sandefur said, “that this is kind of hidden in many ways from the conversation about justice.”

###

Editor’s notes:

To reach Rebecca Sandefur, call 217-333-6100; email sandefur@illinois.edu.

The study, “Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers’ Impact,” is available online (access may be restricted).

In previous work, Sandefur has studied the uneven distribution of legal aid by state and how most people deal with civil legal problems on their own.

Article source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/uoia-aic090315.php

Pullman’s Comeback Putting Homes in Higher Demand: Residents and Realtors

Patricia Bolton, 68, who has lived on the 10700 block of South Champlain for eight years, says the neighborhood has improved.

View Full Caption

PULLMAN — Some residents hope Pullman could be the next hot neighborhood on the South Side if things continue to look up.

President Barack Obama’s designation of Pullman as a national monument earlier this year, along with the new Method Soap Factory has helped put Pullman back on the map, residents and Realtors said. A new Wal-Mart and other retail stores have provided more shopping options to the neighborhood.

“I think it’s going to be the next big thing outside of Hyde Park,” said Aundrea English, 36, who has lived on the 10700 block of South Champlain for the last three years.

What attracted her to her home was simple, she said. The neighbors were friendly, and she fell in love with the make of the historic rowhomes. The solid foundation, the bricks, the “east coast feel,” all had her sold after touring her house for the first time.

Aundrea English, (center), stands outside of her first home with family and friends.

View Full Caption

“I wanted to be in something trendy, but it had to be affordable,” English said. “I can’t afford Hyde Park, I can’t afford Bronzeville. … so this was perfect.”

The neighborhood is improving, she said. When she first moved in, there were a lot of renters, but now just about everyone owns their home. She said it makes a difference.

Patricia Bolton, 68, agrees, saying that she has witnessed the transition. Bolton has lived on the same block as English for eight years.

“The block is much better than what it was when I moved here,” she said. “It was totally infested with drugs and crime, you couldn’t hardly sit on your porch.”

Bolton said she tried to organize a block club when she first moved in, but it was difficult.

“It didn’t move because it wasn’t the right people here who would want it to move,” she said, adding that that isn’t the case anymore. Bolton is working on getting a block club started again.

She said that the people on her block are close, and the tight-knit community feels like family. She attributes the influx of new neighbors in part to a nearby Metra stop and good access to CTA buses

“It’s coming back to how it was back in the day, where people watch out for each other,” Bolton said.

Realtors with homes listed in the neighborhood say that Pullman is on the rise. They say developers are buying up property and rehabbed homes are selling quickly.

Mike Wolski, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, has been selling homes in Pullman for 10 years. He said that he has seen more people taking an interest in the area’s rowhouses.

“The neighborhood is one of a kind,” Wolski said, “It was built as a company town in the 1880s, and virtually almost all the original houses made in the 1880s period are still standing. Most of the houses are in good shape and people want to be a part of that. The architecture is really and truly one of a kind. There’s nothing else like it in Chicago.”

He said homes have been selling at prices between $75,000 to $140,000, depending on the condition.

On Aug. 29, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago partnered together to host an open house and block party for some newly renovated homes. Three such homes were for sale on Bolton’s block, and now only one is left.

Sale prices have gone up in North Pullman, said Brian Caron, a managing broker with AMS Realty because “newly rehabbed homes are in demand in Pullman.” Between 2011-2014, the average prices on their renovated homes has gone up, from under $70,000 to now $95,000, Caron said.

Wolski said increased list prices of these homes are a huge improvement over the foreclosure sales that the block saw in previous years.

But it’s not all good news in this Far South Side neighborhood: Other parts of Pullman are just starting to rebound from the housing crash in the late 2000s.

Home values in Pullman in the area roughly between 111th and 115th streets have gone down substantially since a peak in December 2006, according to Zillow, a real estate listing website that includes many — but not all — properties listed in the Pullman area. But the site says the median sale price has crept back to $91,100 this summer. It predicts prices will rise by 1.4 percent next year.

This rehabbed home, 10729 S. Champain, in Pullman is for sale.

View Full Caption

In West Pullman, Zillow says homes have gone down by about 1 percent in the last year, to $87,100. But it predicts prices will increase by .6 percent in the next year.

Redfin, looking at a larger area, puts the median list price of Pullman homes at $110,000, although it says the median sale price is still under $50,000.

Caron says the lower prices reflect homes in foreclosure or being purchased by developers for rehab.

“You still have a high number of abandoned, foreclosed, distressed properties,” he said.  

The excessive amount of vacant homes have attracted developers, said Conrade Carpenter, of City Suburbs Realty, who know the homes will be in demand once they are rehabbed. That is showing up in the higher prices being paid for those properties, which are some cases as high as they were in the 1960s, said Carpenter, who grew up in the area. He said the resurgence is happening even with the stigma that the area sometimes gets because of crime.

“I have seen the changes of the neighborhood over the years, [especially] with the new development things going on and Pullman being historic,” he said. ”It’s coming back.”

English said she’s excited for the future.

“I can’t wait to see what’s next,” English said. “All we need are some live music places, and a couple of places to stay, some sit-down restaurants. Those things are coming.”

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here:

Article source: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150903/pullman/pullmans-comeback-putting-homes-higher-demand-residents-realtors

Pullman’s Comeback Putting Homes in Higher Demand: Residents and Realtors

Patricia Bolton, 68, who has lived on the 10700 block of South Champlain for eight years, says the neighborhood has improved.

View Full Caption

PULLMAN — Some residents hope Pullman could be the next hot neighborhood on the South Side if things continue to look up.

President Barack Obama’s designation of Pullman as a national monument earlier this year, along with the new Method Soap Factory has helped put Pullman back on the map, residents and Realtors said. A new Wal-Mart and other retail stores have provided more shopping options to the neighborhood.

“I think it’s going to be the next big thing outside of Hyde Park,” said Aundrea English, 36, who has lived on the 10700 block of South Champlain for the last three years.

What attracted her to her home was simple, she said. The neighbors were friendly, and she fell in love with the make of the historic rowhomes. The solid foundation, the bricks, the “east coast feel,” all had her sold after touring her house for the first time.

Aundrea English, (center), stands outside of her first home with family and friends.

View Full Caption

“I wanted to be in something trendy, but it had to be affordable,” English said. “I can’t afford Hyde Park, I can’t afford Bronzeville. … so this was perfect.”

The neighborhood is improving, she said. When she first moved in, there were a lot of renters, but now just about everyone owns their home. She said it makes a difference.

Patricia Bolton, 68, agrees, saying that she has witnessed the transition. Bolton has lived on the same block as English for eight years.

“The block is much better than what it was when I moved here,” she said. “It was totally infested with drugs and crime, you couldn’t hardly sit on your porch.”

Bolton said she tried to organize a block club when she first moved in, but it was difficult.

“It didn’t move because it wasn’t the right people here who would want it to move,” she said, adding that that isn’t the case anymore. Bolton is working on getting a block club started again.

She said that the people on her block are close, and the tight-knit community feels like family. She attributes the influx of new neighbors in part to a nearby Metra stop and good access to CTA buses

“It’s coming back to how it was back in the day, where people watch out for each other,” Bolton said.

Realtors with homes listed in the neighborhood say that Pullman is on the rise. They say developers are buying up property and rehabbed homes are selling quickly.

Mike Wolski, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, has been selling homes in Pullman for 10 years. He said that he has seen more people taking an interest in the area’s rowhouses.

“The neighborhood is one of a kind,” Wolski said, “It was built as a company town in the 1880s, and virtually almost all the original houses made in the 1880s period are still standing. Most of the houses are in good shape and people want to be a part of that. The architecture is really and truly one of a kind. There’s nothing else like it in Chicago.”

He said homes have been selling at prices between $75,000 to $140,000, depending on the condition.

On Aug. 29, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago partnered together to host an open house and block party for some newly renovated homes. Three such homes were for sale on Bolton’s block, and now only one is left.

Sale prices have gone up in North Pullman, said Brian Caron, a managing broker with AMS Realty because “newly rehabbed homes are in demand in Pullman.” Between 2011-2014, the average prices on their renovated homes has gone up, from under $70,000 to now $95,000, Caron said.

Wolski said increased list prices of these homes are a huge improvement over the foreclosure sales that the block saw in previous years.

But it’s not all good news in this Far South Side neighborhood: Other parts of Pullman are just starting to rebound from the housing crash in the late 2000s.

Home values in Pullman in the area roughly between 111th and 115th streets have gone down substantially since a peak in December 2006, according to Zillow, a real estate listing website that includes many — but not all — properties listed in the Pullman area. But the site says the median sale price has crept back to $91,100 this summer. It predicts prices will rise by 1.4 percent next year.

This rehabbed home, 10729 S. Champain, in Pullman is for sale.

View Full Caption

In West Pullman, Zillow says homes have gone down by about 1 percent in the last year, to $87,100. But it predicts prices will increase by .6 percent in the next year.

Redfin, looking at a larger area, puts the median list price of Pullman homes at $110,000, although it says the median sale price is still under $50,000.

Caron says the lower prices reflect homes in foreclosure or being purchased by developers for rehab.

“You still have a high number of abandoned, foreclosed, distressed properties,” he said.  

The excessive amount of vacant homes have attracted developers, said Conrade Carpenter, of City Suburbs Realty, who know the homes will be in demand once they are rehabbed. That is showing up in the higher prices being paid for those properties, which are some cases as high as they were in the 1960s, said Carpenter, who grew up in the area. He said the resurgence is happening even with the stigma that the area sometimes gets because of crime.

“I have seen the changes of the neighborhood over the years, [especially] with the new development things going on and Pullman being historic,” he said. ”It’s coming back.”

English said she’s excited for the future.

“I can’t wait to see what’s next,” English said. “All we need are some live music places, and a couple of places to stay, some sit-down restaurants. Those things are coming.”

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here:

Article source: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150903/pullman/pullmans-comeback-putting-homes-higher-demand-residents-realtors

Senior with little income but large home equity seeks Chapter 13 relief

Senior with little income but large home equity seeks Chapter 13 relief


“There are special laws that allow middle class families to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of their pocket monthly for nursing home care, assisted living care and home care. So, why get financially devastated when a health crisis happens that cannot be avoided?”

CHAPTER 13

Client is 68 and relies on social security of $800. Wife is 55 and is a self-employed health professional.  Wife, although a health professional, only grosses $20K a year. And I thought everyone in the health industry was raking it in. They bought their residence 20 years ago for $300K. It is now worth $700K. They have a mortgage balance of $200K. So they have $500K of equity. That’s not bad at all. However, because their income is low, they have not been able to pay their mortgage of $1200 monthly for 10 months.

They come to me with a notice of auction sale for next week. Husband asks if a loan modification at this stage will stop the foreclosure. I said no. Although there is a law that says so, in reality, it doesn’t stop the foreclosure. He also asks me if I can sue the bank for predatory lending to stop the foreclosure. I said no. I said you can sue the bank but its not going to stop the foreclosure. I said the only thing you can do to stop the foreclosure right now is the file a Chapter 13. You can then pay the default of $12K at the rate of $200 monthly and stop the foreclosure for 5 years as long as you are timely making the plan payments to the court. The problem, I said, is that next month, you have to resume the current mortgage payment of $1200 for the month of October so that in October, you actually need $1200 for the current portion of the mortgage and another $200 for the plan payment. The total of $1,400 is $200 more than you mortgage of $1200 which you have not been able to pay for ten months, but it does give you enough breathing time to figure out what you can do next. The foreclosure of September 8 will not push through because of the Chapter 13. Therefore, your house is safe in the meantime.

I suggested that he can sell the house while he was on the Chapter 13 so that he can maximize the realization of his $500K of equity, then just purchase a condo with the $500K so he won’t have to pay for a mortgage anymore, and he will probably have $100K of cash left as emergency funds. I suggested another way to pay off the mortgage but I will not mention it here. What’s important is that the filing of the Chapter 13 now will stop the September 8 foreclosure and give him enough time to figure out what his next move is going to be. Otherwise, if he doesn’t do anything and keeps on dragging his feet and not take the right step which is filing the Chapter 13, he will end up losing his house on September 8. If his house is foreclosed on September 8 and there are no bidders for the house at auction, the bank will bid the balance of the loan of $200K, and in that situation his $500K equity will evaporate into thin air. Maybe a bank employee will bid slightly higher than $200K, then resell the house at $700K and making a half million profit overnight at the expense of client who I must say is one of the most stubborn people I have met. It’s as if his stubbornness will solve the problem of saving his house.

Paying for/eliminating nursing home costs

Client is 67. He has been fairly blessed with good health until recently. He owns a house with $300K of equity. He has a retirement account of $500K. While going for his daily morning walk with his dog, he suffered a massive heart attack. Now, he cannot take care of himself. His wife and family are worried that that they would have to place him in a nursing home. They checked around and found a nice nursing home with first class surrounding and facilities. They would like to put him there. But the monthly expense for that nursing home is $8,000 a month. At that rate, they would burn through the retirement account of $500K in five years. And may even have to sell their house.

His wife and family are very concerned that this catastrophe will devastate them financially. I present them with a legal solution that will let them keep the $500K of retirement account and keep their house. At the same time, the solution will provide grants and subsidies that will pay for the $8,000 monthly as long as he needs nursing home care. I can get them the care that client needs without bankrupting the family. There are special laws that allow middle class families to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of their pocket monthly for nursing home care, assisted living care and home care. So, why get financially devastated when a health crisis happens that cannot be avoided? If your loved one is in this situation now, or you need to do advance planning maybe a couple of years from now, come and see me. I can help you solve this problem legally and allow you to keep all your assets while getting the nursing care that your loved one needs.

“SEE, THE FORMER THINGS HAVE TAKEN PLACE, AND NEW THINGS I DECLARE; BEFORE THEY SPRING INTO BEING I ANNOUNCE THEM TO YOU.” ISAIAH 42:9

* * *

Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in bankruptcy, business, real estate and civil litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 1000 S. Fremont Ave, Mailstop 58, Building A-1 Suite 1125, Alhambra, CA 91803.

Article source: http://asianjournal.com/consumer/senior-with-little-income-but-large-home-equity-seeks-chapter-13-relief/

Can bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?

Paul AllenRecent press reports now indicate that banks are ready to begin a new push on delinquent mortgages through foreclosures and trust deed sales.

Although the recession seems to have bottomed out, and house prices are no longer falling, many home owners are still behind on their payments, or sitting in homes that remain upside down in value versus debt, or both. Bottom line, home values have not yet appreciated to the point where it makes sense to stay, or pay off large delinquencies in order to avoid a foreclosure.

Even with the new lower mortgage rates, few home owners will succeed in refinancing under the government’s Harp 2 program, that provides re-finance options for properties under water. For most, if your credit is compromised, or you do not have at least 40% equity, you are out of luck. Therefore a bank foreclosure may well be unavoidable during this new foreclosure wave that’s about to begin.

So how does that work? When you are unable to make your mortgage payments on time, the bank starts a foreclosure process. Foreclosure is a legal procedure that involves mortgaged properties. If a homeowner defaults on his or her mortgage, by either failing to make mortgage payments or failing to follow other terms of the mortgage document, foreclosure may be the result. The homeowner relinquishes all rights to the property, and the mortgage lender takes possession of the property. Usually there is a forced sale of the property at public auction; the proceeds of this sale are applied to the mortgage debt.

The most widely used remedy in dealing with foreclosure, is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that begins when an individual has a cash flow deficiency caused by debts they cannot manage. It can also protect against judgments, pay garnishments, evictions and buy time in foreclosure situations.

For those with little income, a chapter 7 bankruptcy gives debtors a fresh start. All unsecured debts are discharged. If you do have a regular income that is greater than the cost of living index for your area, you can still qualify for a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The U.S. Courts’ publication Bankruptcy Basics refers to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as “an adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income” where the debtor works with the bankruptcy court to develop a repayment plan for the debtor to follow over the next three to five years. Upon completion of the repayment plan, the bankruptcy court will discharge any remaining eligible debts.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can stall or derail foreclosure proceedings. That’s because of bankruptcy’s “automatic stay” provisions that force creditors to the sidelines while the bankruptcy court sorts things out. The lender can petition the court to allow it to continue with the foreclosure, depending on where you are in the foreclosure process, but it should buy you some time.

The following, is from page 24 of the U.S. Courts’ publication Bankruptcy Basics:

By virtue of the automatic stay, an individual debtor faced with a threatened foreclosure of the mortgage on his or her principal residence can prevent an immediate foreclosure by filing a chapter 13 petition. Chapter 13 then affords the debtor a right to cure defaults on long-term home mortgage debts by bringing the payments current over a reasonable period of time. The debtor is permitted to cure a default with respect to a lien on the debtor’s principal residence up until the completion of a foreclosure sale under state law. 11 U.S.C § 1322©.

Clearly, you should hire a bankruptcy attorney to guide you through this complex process. That’s why the Law Offices of Paul M. Allen is here to help you. Attorney Paul Allen can re-structure your finances through the flexibility of a Chapter 13 plan, and provide you with options that will help you through many difficult situations.

For a free consultation, contact the law offices of Paul M. Allen and schedule your appointment with Attorney Allen. Offices in Glendale and La Palma conveniently located to serve you. Call today at 818-552-4500.

(This article is for information purposes only, and does not necessary reflect the company’s opinions and views on general issues. We make no warranty, prediction nor representation, nor do we assume any legal liability for the completeness of any information and its effect on any case. Each case is different and results depend on the facts of each case. Consult with and retain counsel of your own choice if you need legal advice.)

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Article source: http://www.balita.com/can-bankruptcy-stop-a-foreclosure-3/

5 Tips For Beating A Bank Foreclosure

Law360, New York (August 27, 2015, 10:41 AM ET) — Since the Great Recession of 2008, foreclosures have been a major part of the American way of life. Many millions of foreclosures have been processed, resulting in millions of Americans being displaced from their homes. Unfortunately, many more will soon face a similar fate. But foreclosure, like all aspects of law, demands attention to a myriad of details — all of which can impact the outcome.

Most people think that if they get sued by the bank for lack of payment, they’d better start packing up…

Article source: http://www.law360.com/articles/695014/5-tips-for-beating-a-bank-foreclosure

Homeowners delayed purposely on loans: Lancman

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Queens elected officials, legal service providers and affected borough homeowners called on banks to start offering federally mandated loan modifications and stop delaying foreclosure negotiations.

Speaking outside the Queens Civil Supreme Court in Jamaica Aug. 19, Council members Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), I. Daneek Miller (D-St.Albans) and Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) said banks in New York routinely drag out the settlement conference process and flout state law by appearing at settlement conferences without the required authority to approve a loan modification that can keep a family in their home.

After the recent mortgage crisis, the federal government intervened and initiated the Home Affordable Modification Program, which requires most major banks and mortgage services to provide eligible homeowners with loan modifications.

“Banks played a substantial role in creating the foreclosure crisis and must act responsibly to help communities recover,” said Lancman.

Queens, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the five boroughs, currently has 10,000 homes in foreclosure, or one out of every 79 homes, according to the City Council Committee on Economic Development and Community Development.

Miller said southeast Queens had over 9,000 homes going into foreclosure from April 2013 to May 2015.

“To learn that city property owners may endure a settlement process that can last upwards of two years is unconscionable and this practice must stop,” Miller said.

State law requires a settlement conference to be held between the homeowner and the lender within 60 days of the initial foreclosure filing. Both parties are required to negotiate in good faith to reach a settlement. However, lenders routinely flout this law by sending employees who do not have the required documentation or who are not authorized to negotiate, Lancman said.

“There are real human consequences here, and banks should do much more to help New Yorkers avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes,” Garodnick said.

For Maria Patronas, an Astoria resident, the issue of the bank not being forthcoming during loan modification negotiations became all too real.

Patronas began falling behind on mortgage payments to Wells Fargo after repairing her home following Hurricane Sandy. She tried to obtain a modification, but was denied and then Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure action in December 2013.

“They came to my house and started taking measuremen­ts,” Patronas, a single mother, said. “They were ready to put me and my children on the street.”

Patronas looked for help with Queens Legal Services and two years later she was approved for a permanent loan modification.

Jacob Inwald, director of Foreclosure Prevention at Legal Services NYC, said despite reports of recovering real estate markets, New York remains mired in a foreclosure crisis disproportionately affecting low- and moderate-income communities of color, with foreclosure cases comprising nearly one-third of the state’s Supreme Court civil dockets across the state.

Recent data from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about consumer mortgage related complaints obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and MFY Legal Services showed a pattern of complaints, which came from largely segregated communities across the city.

The data showed that 35 percent of the complaints came from communities with a majority of black, Latino and Asian residents, which included 11 percent of the complaints from hyper-segregated communities with almost 90 percent of population is made up of black, Latino or Asian families.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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Article source: http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2015/35/foreclosures_2015_08_28_q.html