CONTACT: Kenneth A. Brown, OSBA, 800-282-6556 or 614-487-4426
Columbus, OHIO (Oct. 6, 2009) – Clermont County homeowner John Lynn was close to losing his home of nearly a decade, and the future for him, his wife and their two young children was uncertain.
Lynn suffered injuries from a motorcycle accident, lost his job and got behind on his mortgage payments. To add to the family’s financial problems, his wife lost her job and their youngest daughter required open-heart surgery.
“We were getting foreclosure notices in the mail, and I tried everything I knew to take care of the problem,” Lynn said. “As a last resort, I called legal aid.”
The Lynn family’s case was assigned by the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati to Shannon McQuade Lafkas, a Cincinnati attorney working for The McQuade Attorneys based in Fulton County. Lafkas is one of the more than 1,300 attorneys who are providing legal services free of charge through “Save the Dream,” a statewide foreclosure assistance program that connects qualified homeowners with lawyers.
Lafkas was able to negotiate with the mortgage lender to get a new interest rate and loan terms for the Lynns. “Mr. Lynn is a hard worker who suffered a series of financial setbacks and it was heartbreaking to see him and his family go through this,” Lafkas said. “It was so rewarding for me to be able to help them resolve the problem so they can stay in their home.”
“Shannon was the angel we needed after all the bad luck we went through,” Lynn praised. “She didn’t take no for an answer from the mortgage company, and she got us the help we needed.”
More than 3,200 Ohio families have avoided foreclosure through the counseling and legal assistance they have received since the “Save the Dream” initiative began on April 1, 2008.
OSBA President Barbara J. Howard praised Lafkas, and other attorneys like her, who have stepped forward to assist homeowners. “The attorneys who take part in ‘Save the Dream’ are truly inspiring in their dedication to helping those in their communities who face foreclosure,” Howard said. “Their commitment should serve as a spark to other attorneys to join in the efforts.”
Lafkas also encourages other attorneys to take time to volunteer for the program. “There is a lot of need out there,” she said. “Not everyone has the ability to afford good legal representation, but everyone deserves to have a competent lawyer by their side in these foreclosure cases.”
“Save the Dream” is supported by the OSBA, the Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, various legal aid organizations, and housing counseling agencies.
Ohioans seeking assistance are encouraged to call the Save the Dream hotline at 1-888-404-4674. Attorneys interested in becoming involved should go to the member pages of the OSBA Web site, www.ohiobar.org, and click on “Foreclosure,” or call member services at 1-800-232-7124.
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.
Editor’s note: Lafkas’s residential zip code is 45244.