July 07, 2009

Free financial advice

PhillyBurbs.com: "Free financial advice for Bucks, Montco residents," by Jenna Portnoy, Intelligencer, July 7, 2009:
. . . Starting today, anyone, regardless of income level, can stop by one of 20 locations throughout the state for free financial advice. The Bucks County Bar Association in Doylestown will offer these services to Bucks and Montgomery counties' residents. . . .

Lawyers from the Bucks Bar and financial experts from TruMark Financial Credit Union and First National Bank of Newtown and others will sit down with anyone in need to provide assistance. For example, an individual who lost a job and faces foreclosure could have questions about the law as well as money matters.

The program, called Get Help Now PA!, is separate from Bucks' Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, which provides optional mediation for lenders and borrowers at the onset of the foreclosure process. A notice about the program, including the Home Hotline 1-866-760-8911, will be attached to the foreclosure filing.

Get Help Now volunteers can refer cases that require specific expertise to Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The organization generally helps low income residents, but can make exceptions for seniors, victims of domestic abuse or predatory lending and others.

Liz Fritsch, the co-executive director of Legal Aid, encourages anyone in need to call the helpline at 1-877-429-5994 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

Officials don't know what to expect when the program kicks off this afternoon, but so far enough lawyers and paralegals have volunteered to keep it going through Sept. 11, said Chris Serpico, president of the Bucks Bar Association. . . .

The popularity of the program will determine if it continues: "Hopefully people will take advantage of the program, but time will tell." . . .

Get help now, here's how:

Where: Bucks County Bar Association, 135 East State St. in Doylestown

When: 1 p.m. to Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sept. 11

Find out more: 1-888-799-4557, or

www.pa.gov and click on Get Help Now icon