Latest Foreclosure Aid: Free Lawyers

Lots of government officials have promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure, but New York City is finally offering homeowners something of real value: free legal aid to help them negotiate a fair deal from their banks.

"No family facing the loss of their home should be without representation," says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The city plans to train 300 new volunteer lawyers over the next three months, through an organization called NYC Service Legal Outreach. One hundred lawyers will be stationed at courthouses to screen homeowners, while the other 200 will be matched with individual homeowners and represent them through the foreclosure settlement process, according to a story in Crain's New York Business.

The lawyers will represent homeowners during the mandatory "settlement conference" now required under New York City law, when the homeowner and the bank meet to negotiate alternatives to foreclosure.