Starting today, Alabama lawyers will answer a toll-free hotline to assist homeowners faced with foreclosure, according to the Alabama State Bar and Legal Services Alabama, two organizations that partnered to provide the service.

The hotline number is 1-877-393-2333, according to Brad Carr, director of communications for the state bar in Montgomery.

Help is free to anyone. “You can own a McMansion or a modest home; it doesn’t matter,” he said. Lawyers from Mobile and around the state will staff the hotline, he said.

“There are foreclosure procedures as simple as writing a letter to your lender, and the attorneys can do that,” Carr said. “Or they can help in a mediation with your lender.”

If the matter is already in litigation and the homeowner needs representation in court, the homeowner will be charged a fee, with the amount based on the person’s income, he said.

Alabama has two kinds of foreclosure proceedings, judicial and non-judicial, according to Thomas J. Methvin, a Montgomery attorney and president-elect of the state bar. Non-judicial foreclosures are most common and can occur within 21 days, he said.

“This is why it is crucial for homeowners who have missed making even one monthly mortgage payment to call the hotline immediately,” he said.

Local attorney Henry Callaway serves on the state bar’s foreclosure task force.

The assistance hotline kicked off in Huntsville earlier this month, followed by Mobile and will soon be available in Montgomery and Birmingham, according to Carr.

The nonprofit Legal Services Alabama, which provides legal assistance to low- income Alabamians, pays the attorneys to man the hotline. The cost is covered by a grant from the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation and Access to Justice Commission.

For more information on foreclosures, go to the state bar’s web site at www. alabar.org.

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