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Latino groups join foreclosure clinics

Participants at a foreclosure prevention clinic in Mineola.

Participants at a foreclosure prevention clinic in Mineola. Credit: Uli Seit

Two Latino nonprofits, one known for helping immigrants and the other for social services, will partner with the Nassau County Bar Association at its monthly foreclosure prevention clinics.

Starting next month, the Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre and La Fuerza Unida of Glen Cove will send Spanish-speaking loan modification counselors to the bar clinics.

Borrowers can get details on how to lower their monthly payments by applying for loan modifications, which are changes to mortgage contract terms, such as lower interest rates or extended contract periods.

The Hispanic Brotherhood’s executive director, Margarita Grasing, said her immigrant advocacy group wants to reach out to more people now that the foreclosure crisis has put them in a “standby” mode.

Counselors there have been working with borrowers for the past four years, she said, but the pace of foreclosures has slowed dramatically. Also, she said, getting a permanent loan modification is taking longer than initially expected.

“Every day, it’s more people coming in,” Grasing said, “but a lot of people haven’t finalized what they started two years ago. Most of them are still living in the same place.

“The lenders can’t take all these properties back . . . All the banks want to know is you’re still living there and you’re taking care of the property.”

Nassau County bar officials have been providing speakers on site or over the phone in various languages, from Haitian Creole to Hindi, because people are more comfortable discussing complex issues in their own languages.

The next clinic is set for 3 tp 6 p.m. July 11 at the bar association’s Mineola headquarters at 15th and West streets. Reservations required by calling (516) 747-4070.

As usual, homeowners can meet one-on-one there with nonprofits, Nassau County officials and attorneys to get guidance on preventing foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy and more. 

Photo: Lawyer David Green talks to participants at the Nassau County Bar Association headquarters in Mineola.

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