One of the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, Ohio saw 83,000 foreclosures filed last year, noted Walker. He reported that fewer than 4 percent of homeowners were represented by counsel.
"I can negotiate with lenders; that's what I've done most of my life," said Walker, who calculates he has volunteered about 250 hours so far this year. "People do have an obligation to their fellow members of the world to try to help solve problems."
Too often "the problems are really created by the lenders—perpetrated against the borrowers by unscrupulous lenders," said Livingstone.
Some seniors are victims of predatory lenders; others are at risk of losing their homes over crushing medical debt or the death of an income-earning spouse. Still others find themselves not understanding the nuances of adjustable rate mortgages, balloon payments, or other financing terms pushed by "experts"—offers that seemed too good to be true, and probably were.
"The loan was too expensive to start off with," scoffed Summers, who was weeks away from seeing her adjustable rate loan jump to more than $2,000 a month. Thanks to the help of Livingstone and other volunteers, Summers has her home back and is breathing a bit easier. "I feel really well," she said.