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Housing Attorney

Fort Pierce, FL
Contract
04-19-2021
Practice Areas: Real Estate, Commercial Mortgage Lending, Housing, Public Administration Exp.: 4 - 5 Years Salary: $54,000 - $72,000 Yearly
Description:
Job Overview
Florida Rural Legal Services is seeking a Housing Attorney to assist Indian River County residents who will be focused on (i) partnering with Indian River County non-profit agencies to encourage them to refer clients to FRLS for assistance on cases related to rental and mortgage issues resulting from COVID-related loss of income, (ii) working with FRLS staff to handle all cases coming into the IRC Housing Program, including referral to other departments (non-housing related) at FRLS, as needed, assignment to internal attorneys and/or outside pro bono attorneys, in all cases with a view to avoid foreclosure, bankruptcy or lease termination; and (iii) working with FRLS staff to follow-up on cases and ensure that the Case Management System is updated to reflect the information required pursuant to the IRC Housing Program Agreement.

This is a 12-month contract position which may be extended.

Essential Functions
Duties:
  • Be the face of this new housing program, interacting with the IRC Bar Association, attending meetings, clinics, and other functions, as needed, to build relationships and recruit volunteers to the program. Interact with IRC agencies providing rental assistance to encourage them to refer cases to FRLS so that legal assistance can be provided as early as possible in the process, with the goal of avoiding eviction and/or foreclosure. Regular outreach into the IRC community to raise awareness of the program.
  • Maintain understanding of current state of federal, state, and local legislation affecting the rights of tenants, landlords, mortgagors, and mortgagees, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Become familiar with practices at local courts re: eviction and foreclosure processes.
  • Participate in FRLS training programs for pro bono attorneys assigned to this program, educating them on current state of federal, state, and local legislation affecting the rights of tenants, landlords, mortgagors, and mortgagees. Participate in client workshops on housing issues, as needed.
  • Establish program goals, work with FRLS staff to maintain updated client information and case notes, including number of cases taken in, brief description of cases, income level of household, number of people in household, agency making referral, name of landlord or lender, actions taken, assigned attorneys, next steps, case resolutions, time from referral to closure, and such other information as necessary to track achievement of goals, all of which shall be entered into the FRLS Case Management System. Oversee production of data and performance-based reports for FRLS and JICSL, monthly or as requested.
  • Attend weekly case acceptance meetings at FRLS, where internal attorneys discuss cases, services to be provided, and capacity to handle case internally or externally. If the case is to be assigned externally, Housing Attorney will consult with FRLS Pro Bono Coordinators, who will be responsible for referring the case to an appropriate Pro Bono attorney through the IRC Bar Association Pro Bono Liaison.
  • Handle assigned case load, which may include, but not be limited to, client advocacy, counseling to educate clients of their rights and responsibilities, mediating landlord-tenant communication and disputes, assistance with lease negotiations, developing a workable payment plan to maintain housing, working with lenders or mortgage servicing companies on behalf of clients to negotiate a payment suspension, repayment plan or loan modification, assisting with review and documentation of lease or mortgage modifications. Meet with clients in Ft. Pierce FRLS office as well as other offices provided in Indian River County.
  • Follow lending practices when assessing the homeowners’ ability to remain in their current home through mortgage forbearance, loan modification, refinance, or other appropriate options.
  • For cases being outsourced to Pro Bono Attorneys, work with FRLS Pro Bono Coordinator to ensure cases are being outsourced to the appropriate counsel in a timely manner and case is properly transitioned. Work with FRLS staff to ensure they are following-up with Pro Bono Attorney to ensure attorney is being responsive to client and working to resolve case in the best interests of the client.
  • Perform other duties, as assigned.

Qualifications
  • Undergraduate and Law Degree; member in good standing in Florida state Bar Association
  • 4-5 years’ experience practicing in the areas of real estate, commercial mortgage lending, housing, public administration, or related fields.
  • Prior experience in a non-profit environment helpful.
  • Ability to converse with clients in a language other than English preferred (Haitian/Creole, Spanish, etc.) preferred.

Physical Requirements:
  • This is a largely sedentary role, however, some lifting of office supplies up to 20 pounds may be required.
  • Must be able to travel as needed.





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