In 2012, the Arkansas Attorney General distributed $2 million to the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission. The money came from a multi-state settlement agreement with the nation’s five largest banks. The settlement involved allegations of fraud and abuse within the mortgage service industry. These fraudulent and abusive practices led to the foreclosure crisis. The settlement allows Arkansas legal aid organizations to help Arkansans affected by the crisis.
The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission and the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation agreed to create a grant program. The program funds legal services for low-income Arkansans facing legal issues related to housing and financial fraud. The designated recipients of the grant are Arkansas’s two civil legal services providers: Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services.
Legal Aid of Arkansas uses the money from this grant to fund most of the work done by the Housing Workgroup. This includes cases involving:
- access to affordable housing,
- foreclosure defense,
- eviction defense,
- housing discrimination,
- title issues, and
- other matters relating to safe and affordable housing.
It also includes matters involving:
- unfair or deceptive trade practices,
- housing-related predatory lending, and
- truth-in-lending violations.