, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
, began HOC
and continues to coordinate the HOME Clinics and Workshops. HOC began sponsoring Housing Summits in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Homeowners can talk with expertsâ€"who have agreed not to solicit busiÂnessâ€"for free and without pressure.
â€œHaving attorneys at the HOME Clinics is unique to San Diego,â€� says Myrna Pascual of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who coordinates the clinics. â€œThe homeowners fill out evaluations after meeting with the various groups at the clinics, and they find [meeting with] us, the attorneys, a very satisfying, rewarding experience.â€�Laturno explains, â€œThese issues cut across a lot of specialtiesâ€"family law, bankruptcy, tax, attorney-broker, real estate, consumer attorneys, criminal defense.â€�
Indeed, the FBI has arrested more than 400 people nationwide in connection with fraudulent lending practices, at least six of whom were operating in San Diego.
While the government pursues criminal charges, local victims of these scam artists attended a special HOME Clinic this past summer, where attorneys helped identify civil charges as well.
â€œ[The district attorneys] wanted the victims to get civil remedies too,â€� says Pascual
, who helped coordinate the special HOME Clinic. â€œThe civil remedies are very complex, because people are being evicted from homes they no longer own because they deeded them over to scam artists.â€�
She admits foreclosure is inevitable for some of the homeowners attending the clinics. â€œSometimes when youâ€™re counseling someone, you feel like all you can do is let people know whatâ€™s coming, because you canâ€™t stop it,â€� she