Idaho Legal Aid Services Fall Newsletter 2011

Idaho Poverty Law Journal 
The Newsletter of Idaho Legal Aid Services
Fall 2011

open law book

Greetings!  

I hope you are enjoying our glorious Idaho autumn. I want to update
you as to how Idaho Legal Aid Services is working to serve the civil legal
needs of poor Idahoans across our great state. We are excited about new
projects and collaborations which will enable us to better serve our
clients and benefit Idaho communities. This good work is made possible
by supporters such as you who enable us to represent domestic violence
and sexual assault victims, abused and neglected children, veterans,
seniors, persons with disabilities, homeowners facing wrongful
foreclosures and other vulnerable Idahoans. With your continued
support Idaho Legal Aid Services will get through these difficult financial
times, end monthly furloughs and return staff to former levels so we can
restore and expand services to Idahoans.

 

Sincerely,

Ernesto Sanchez

Executive Director

Idaho Legal Aid Services

Idaho Legal Aid Services awarded grant to form
Idaho Identity Theft 
Coalition. 

We are proud to announce that Idaho Legal Aid Services is one of only
ten organizations selected to participate in a National Identity Theft
Victims Assistance Networks Project grant. This national scope project
seeks to expand and improve the outreach and capacity of victim service
programs to address the rights and needs of victims of identity theft.
The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims
of Crime, and administered through the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource
Center which will provide training, technical assistance, and programmatic
and financial oversight to Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS).

Senior with caregiver

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), around 12 million or 5% of
Americans over the age of 16 became victims of identity theft in the two year
period ending in June 2008. Financial identity theft is only part of the overall
picture; over 600,000 victims experienced other types of identity theft,
including criminal, medical and interfamilial identity theft. Fifty-three percent
of victims reported moderate to severe distress from the identity theft,
according to a recent
report  from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Recovering
victims spent an average of $1,870 in out-of-pocket costs. Over 3 million
experienced issues such as having utilities cut off, being arrested, finding
erroneous claims on their health records, having child support garnished for
children they never had and being harassed by collection agencies.

 

Identity theft is a growing problem in Idaho. In 2010, the Consumer Sentinel
Network (an online database of consumer complaints available to law
enforcement) received 729 Idaho identity theft reports. This number was
double the 361 Idaho identity theft complaints filed with the FTC in 2002.
The 2010 Idaho complaints were as follows:

 

Type                                                                     Complaints     Percentage

Credit Card Fraud 117
16%
Employment-Related Fraud 101
14%
Phone or Utilities Fraud
97 13%
Government Documents or Benefits Fraud
88 12%
Bank Fraud
78 11%
Loan Fraud
25 3%
Other
186 26%
Attempted Identity Theft
52 7%

The Idaho Identity Theft Coalition will serve seniors and near seniors
(persons 50 or over) across Idaho. The state's aging service providers are
fragmented because they are largely independent and spread across a
huge geographic area. This makes it difficult for the network as a whole
to respond rapidly or in an organized and coordinated manner to changing
consumer demographics, trends in the marketplace, or other situations or
conditions. While a number of organizations respond to the senior/near
senior identity theft problem their efforts often lack coordination.

 

Idaho's Identity Theft Coalition project, which began October 1, 2011,
will foster a relationship between disparate groups to fight identity
theft against Idaho seniors/near seniors. Some of the committed project
participants already collaborate on issues. For example, the Idaho
Commission on Aging and the commited Area Agencies on Aging (the College
of Southern Idaho Office on Aging, Sage-Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging,
and the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments) conduct joint training on
numerous issues and often share best practices. However, they have not
always collaborated closely with some of the legal services providers
(University of Idaho College of Law Clinic, Idaho Volunteer Lawyers
Program and ILAS) who have committed to participate in the Coalition.

 

The project is oriented to seniors/near seniors because of ILAS's
experience working with the senior community and an understanding of
their vulnerability to identity theft. Firm attorneys are routinely
consulted on senior identity theft issues by adult protection services,
senior ombudsmen, nursing home/assisted living staff, social workers,
friends and family members of seniors. We are confident the Idaho Identity
Theft Coalition members will collaborate to better educate seniors/near
seniors about this problem to avoid identity theft, to help victims of
identity theft to find help, and to increase the number of professionals
(such as Idaho State Bar members) available to fight identity theft. If you
have questions about this project please contact Sunrise Ayers at 208-345-0106
or
sunriseayers@idaholegalaid.org.

In Remembrance  
Photograph of Amil Myshin
Idaho Legal Aid Services would like to
acknowledge the passing of Amil N. Myshin
on August 6, 2011.Amil was well known for
his 25 years of service at the Ada County
Public Defender's Office representing the
rights of indigent Idahoans in the criminal
justice system.Prior to that Amil was Idaho
Legal Aid Services Litigation Director at
the firm's Boise Office where he served from
1977to 1985. Amil was a man of great conviction
and a stalwart in the legal community.
We will miss him.

Fair Lending Education Project

With a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development, Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS) has implemented
a fair lending project to help homeowners and transactors
understand the lending rights afforded them through the Fair
Housing Act and other laws. The project includes three main
components: a fair lending advice line, fair lending informational
materials, and workshops/clinics to educate consumers about fair
lending practices.

Mother with children

The project is focused on combating predatory lending which is the
practice of preying on, or taking advantage of, an individual or group
of people that may have a difficult time buying or refinancing a home.
Persons vulnerable to predatory lending are often poor, uneducated,
elderly or are otherwise protected by the Fair Housing Act (due to race,
religion, national origin, color, disability, familial status or gender).
Predatory lending often results in sub-prime loans with high interest rates,
excessive fees and high foreclosure rates that strip wealth from individuals
while lowering community property values.

 

What is the Fair Housing Advice Line?

Consumers, housing counselors, lenders and others may contact the Fair
Lending Legal Advice line by calling ILAS, Monday through Friday,
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., M.T., 345-0106 in the Boise calling area,
statewide toll-free 1-866-345-0106, or (TTY) 1-800-245-7573. Spanish
speakers can call 1-866-954-2591 or 454-2591 in the Caldwell calling area.

 

What kind of help can I get from the Project?

The toll-free advice line is available to persons regardless of income. 
Callers can
obtain advice and assistance regarding:

  • Fair lending questions
  • Violations of fair lending laws
  • Fair lending fact sheets and other informational materials
  • A referral to other sources for fair lending and home buyer education
  • A referral to organizations that provide fair lending enforcement
  • Information and schedules of fair lending workshops and training
    opportunities conducted by the Fair Lending Project on topics
    such as  homebuyer education, loan questions, foreclosure prevention,
    modification assistance (how to write an effective hardship letter,
    how to escalate a case to obtain a modification), short sale information,
    post-foreclosure issues, etc.
  • Referrals to housing counselors and attorneys with expertise in
    pre-lending through post-foreclosure issues.  

Whom does the Project serve?

The Fair Housing Advice Line Project serves residents of the State of Idaho
who have a house in Idaho, regardless of income.

 

Who are the Project staff?  

  • Zoe Ann Olson, Project Director.
  • Linda Johnston, Project Assistant.
  • Advice Line Attorneys Zoe Ann Olson and Sunrise Ayers.
  • Staff attorneys and/or paralegals in ILAS's seven regional
    offices.

How do I contact the Project?

There are three ways you can contact the Fair Lending Advice Line Project:

  • Toll-free advice line: 1-866-345-0106 or 345-0106 in the Boise local calling area
  • En espanol llamada gratis estatal, 1-866-954-2591 o 454-2591
    en la área local de llamadas en Caldwell.
  • ILAS Fair Lending Newsletter - September 2011
  • E-mail Project staff at fairlending@idaholegalaid.org.
We've Got a Need
We need to replace 12 computers bought in 1999 and 2001. Idaho Legal Aid Services
would greatly appreciate donations of any new or used machines with professional
versions of current operating systems and dual monitor support as well as flat
screen monitors. Idaho Legal Aid Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit so donations
are tax deductible. If you or your business have machines or flat screen monitors
you would be willing to donate please contact Steve Rapp, Technology Project Developer,
at 336-8980, extension 1110, or e-mail him at steverapp@idaholegalaid.org.  

Bankruptcy Clinic for Boise Area Residents

Our Boise Office hosts a pro se bankruptcy clinic for low-income individuals. 
The clinic is conducted by members of the Idaho State Bar who have graciously
volunteered to assist qualified individuals to prepare a bankruptcy case. 
Information about the clinic can be found at www.idaholegalaid.org Potential
clinic participants should call 345-0106 on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. to
3:00 p.m.  to determine eligibility. Thank you to Jim Martin and his firm,
Moffatt,
Thomas, Barrett,
Rock & Fields, Chtd, Jack and Peggy McMahon, and everyone else
who donated supplies for the clinic in response to our last newsletter.  


About Our Law Firm

Idaho Legal Aid Services provides low income people equal access to justice
through quality advocacy and education. We serve Idaho through regional
offices located in Idaho's population centers and by using statewide advice
lines that serve domestic violence victims, victims of predatory lending and
seniors. Over three hundred interactive online legal forms complete a
website with extensive legal content. For office locations, advice line call
information, interactive forms and educational legal content please see our
website at www.idaholegalaid.org
 and our new firm video.

 

 How We Help Video Link

LSC, United Way and Idaho Law Foundation Logos 

 

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Posted: October 24, 2011