Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Newsroom

December 21, 2011

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. and University of Illinois Extension to hold small farm risk management webinars

By Laura Roberts, December 20, 2011 – Rockford Register Star
BELVIDERE —University of Illinois Extension is slated to hold a series of small farm risk management webinars, starting in January.

The webinars aim to give an overview of methods for evaluating, managing and reducing risk in relation to small farming operations. Farmers will learn how to address risks at the event, and in-person workshops will be offered in a spring follow-up series to discuss specific issues.

Participants are invited to attend one or all of the Monday sessions, including “Risk Management Basics” (Jan. 23), “Risk Management in Production and Marketing” (Jan. 30), “Financial Risk Management” (Feb. 6) and “Managing Human Risk” (Feb. 13). The series is a free program, co-sponsored by the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation and the University of Illinois Extension.

All webinars will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Boone County Extension Office, located at 915 Alexandra Drive, in Belvidere. To register, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo.

For more information, contact Ellen Phillips at ephillps@illinois.edu.

Copyright 2011 Rockford Register Star. Some rights reserved

December 12, 2011

Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars

The story below ran on Morning Edition today on National Public Radio (NPR).  Staff Attorney Beverly Yang of our Alton office is interviewed in the story.

Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars

December 12, 2011 from WBEZ – By Susie An

Although debtors’ prisons are illegal across the country, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to serve jail time as a result of their debt.

Collection agencies are resorting to some unusually harsh tactics to force people to pay their unpaid debt, some of whom aren’t aware that lawsuits have been filed against them by creditors.

Take, for example, what happened to Robin Sanders in Illinois.

She was driving home when an officer pulled her over for having a loud muffler. But instead of sending her off with a warning, the officer arrested Sanders and she was taken right to jail.

“That’s when I found out [that] I had a warrant for failure to appear in Macoupin County. And I didn’t know what it was about.”

Sanders owed $730 on a medical bill.

She says she didn’t even know a collection agency had filed a lawsuit against her.

“They say they send out these court notices, and nobody gets them,” Sanders says.

She spent four days in jail waiting for her father to raise $500 for her bail.

That money was then turned over to the collection agency.

Sanders’ story is an increasingly common one across the country. Similar stories have been reported in Indiana, Tennessee and Washington.

Here’s how it happens: a company will often sell off its debt to a collection agency, generally called a creditor. That creditor files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest.

Beverly Yang, a legal aid attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, says most debtors don’t know their rights.

In fact, she says, some judges don’t even know the debtors’ rights, which could result in the debtor being intimidated into a pay agreement.

“I’ve seen this even when I’m standing in the court room as the legal aid attorney,” Yang says, “The judge will ask if they can pay, how about $150 a month. How about $75 a month? How come you can’t even pay $50 a month? Did you apply for a job last week?”

Read (or listen to) the entire story here: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/12/143274773/unpaid-bills-land-some-debtors-behind-bars

 

December 5, 2011

Homeowners Taking Advantage of Madison County’s Foreclosure Mediation Program

Published in The Telegraph – December 04, 2011
By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT

EDWARDSVILLE – As of the end of October, 52 people had been referred to a new Madison County Residential Mortgage Program since its inception in April, said Linda Jun, program administrator of Land of Lincoln Legal Services.

An estimated 20 more have joined the program since the end of October.

“It’s picking up. I think more people are becoming aware of the service, and there may be more foreclosure cases being filed,” Jun said.

The people who have taken advantage of the new service are being helped with the paperwork needed to handle their cases, she said. Most of them do not have lawyers.

Chief 3rd Circuit Judge Ann Callis announced in April that homeowners facing foreclosure can take advantage of the program in the wake of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling establishing the mediation program in Madison County.

The program creates a chance for homeowners and lenders to come together to explore mutually beneficial alternatives to foreclosure.

In some cases, a loan might be restructured, and in others, the homeowner might be able to give up the home and move without the necessity of proceeding with the foreclosure suit, Jun said.

Homeowners facing foreclosure receive information about the program with their court papers. To participate, they must submit a request for mediation and meet certain financial eligibility requirements.

Read more: http://www.thetelegraph.com/articles/program-62890-foreclosure-homeowners.html#ixzz1ffltlwjW

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