Save the Dream

Save the Dream's legal assistance initiative (formerly FLAG OHIO) focuses on two specific recommendations from Governor Strickland's Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force:

1) using court-based mediation programs to resolve foreclosure cases, and

2) recruitment and training of pro bono attorneys to represent homeowners faced with foreclosure.

Foundation pro bono staff facilitated the gathering of key statewide stakeholders to work together on these two recommendations. In addition to Chief Justice Moyer and then-Treasurer of State Richard Cordray, senior staff from the Governor's Office, Office of Attorney General, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Department of Commerce and representatives of the legal aid community began meeting in December, 2007.

Representatives from the Attorney General's office and legal aid worked together to create a single point-of-entry for homeowners facing foreclosure. After identifying those eligible for the program, potential clients are referred to legal aid programs to have their cases assessed and to obtain legal representation, either by pro bono attorneys or legal aid staff. To address the volume of cases, more than 1,300 private attorneys responded to a call-to-service and have volunteered to provide pro bono legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.

To expand and complement this initiative, OLAF has set aside the majority of its discretionary grant funds through FY2011 to fund a statewide legal aid initiative that will focus on 1) providing support and training for the pro bono attorneys who provide services in foreclosure cases, 2) expanding outreach and education to the client community to encourage them to seek assistance when they fall behind in their mortgage payments and/or receive a Summons, and 3) increasing legal aid capacity to provide a wide range of advocacy responses to the foreclosure problems, including pre- and post-foreclosure legal issues and bankruptcy.

Foundation pro bono staff continues to work closely with our statewide partners and with all six legal aid regions to coordinate services, monitor outcomes, and share best practices.