For Immediate Release: May 29, 2019
Georgia Legal Advocates’ Work to Combat Home Purchase Scams Featured on PBS
Award-winning Series Profiles the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the National Consumer Law Center Fighting to Save Homes of Vulnerable Families Striving to Live the American Dream
ATLANTA –An Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney is featured alongside advocates with the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) in the new season of Visionaries, the award-winning public television series hosted by acclaimed actor Sam Waterston.
Episode 11 of the series’ 23rd season, now available to local Public Broadcasting Stations, profiles the National Consumer Law Center and Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney Sarah Mancini and her work with low-income clients trapped in “rent-to-own” home scams. The episode features an Atlanta resident who was led to believe he had purchased his home from Harbour Portfolio, when in reality; the home wasn’t even registered in his name. After the client financed costly repairs necessary to make the home habitable, he faced the risk of losing it all to eviction, without any reimbursement for his equity or labor. The client’s story featured in the episode is emblematic of a larger American story of insecure housing; of Davids taking on corporate Goliaths; and of the principle that equal justice under the law is a fundamental right of all citizens.
“In the case highlighted in the documentary, we fought back against a business model that required our low-income clients to take on all the burdens of homeownership with none of the benefits, selling a false promise of the American Dream,” said Sarah Mancini, an attorney in the Home Defense Program of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. “This fight is not new, and we’ll be fighting it for a long time. But we are fortunate to be fighting it together with advocates around the country because of the National Consumer Law Center’s work.”
“The documentary captures the heart and soul of advocates in the trenches fighting against massive odds to keep at-risk families in their homes, and it embodies our vision of a nation in which everyone benefits from economic fairness, security, and justice,” said Richard Dubois, executive director of the National Consumer Law Center. “We were thrilled that the Visionaries team selected us and our network of civil legal-aid partners across the nation from hundreds of applicants.”
Visionaries latest season takes viewers around the world to experience the lives of extraordinary people tackling some of humanity’s toughest challenges. The producers chose to highlight Atlanta-based advocates fighting alongside national partners to advance consumer justice and achieve economic security for vulnerable families.
To view the 30-minute episode, stream/download it HERE.
Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has worked for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the U.S. through its expertise in policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, expert witness services, and training.
Since 1924, Atlanta Legal Aid Society has offered free civil legal aid for low-income people across metro Atlanta. With five neighborhood offices, three offices in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals, three county courthouse projects, a variety of self-help clinics, and countless community education programs, Legal Aid lawyers and volunteers reach tens of thousands of people annually.