earthangelsunited@gmail.com

The Mediation Resource Center of Central Florida

Earth Angels United provides resources for a wide variety of mediation, and we are in the process of taking our ability to serve Central Florida to the next level.   Here are a few quick links for those of you returning to book mediation reservations, etc.   To learn about the full scope of our services you may read the information provided below or click on one of the easy download links to print a brochure or the summary packet.

Make a Mediation Reservation

Mediation Resource Center Summary Packet  

1-Page Info Sheet/Brochure  

Application for Commercial Property Owner Opportunity


Program Summary

bluescalesIn August 2008, Earth Angels United began assisting with the administration of a new Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program with Seminole County Circuit Civil Court.   This program is mandatory within the Seminole County court system, requiring all appropriate foreclosures to first participate in mediation.   This is initiated as a solution to decrease the excessive overload of cases in Circuit Civil Court which not only includes foreclosure cases, but also standard civil issues including family, small claims, divorce and dependency.  

 

From September through December 2008, this Foreclosure Mediation Program has experienced positive results in resolving cases and assisting homeowners to obtain direct response and create potential solutions with lenders who have frequently been unavailable through previous attempts at communication.   Due to the success of this flagship program, Earth Angels United is now creating the Mediation Resource Center of Central Florida.   This services of the Center are now available to all counties and for all types of mediation including foreclosure, small claims, family, divorce, circuit civil, insurance and dependency.  It is an affordable public resource with the flexibility to offer rates and compliance elements to serve the needs of county and state agencies.

 

Florida has the third highest number of foreclosures in the country, with 5,367 real estate related cases filed in Seminole County alone from January - October 2008 at a 95% increase in the foreclosure rate over the past year.   The average number of foreclosures has increased from 450 - 684 per month during that same time period.   The current mediation program within Seminole County is conducted at the courthouse but this may not continue into the future due to the inability to provide necessary staffing and funding.   Counties and government are seeking community funded solutions due to decreased budgets at all levels.   Through working with Earth Angels United, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, this has created an alternative solution for mediation.   Inquiries are increasing from other counties and the public regarding foreclosure mediation assistance which creates an ideal position for Earth Angels United to facilitate an all inclusive mediation resource center based on the expertise and relationships already built.  

 

The Center will have the ability to become self sustaining by expanding court based type of programs as well as providing alternative private mediation options.   By including a variety of services, a self-sustaining nonprofit center can successfully assist counties in managing court system overloads while providing true service to the community through voluntary mediation programs, additional education programs and hosting other nonprofit services at one location.  

 

How Mediation Works in the Industry

The standard cost for court based mediation is approximately $200-$300 per session.   Mediations are scheduled 90-minutes for foreclosure, 1-2 hours for small claims and 3-hour sessions for family mediation. For the few counties who have initiated a potential solution, these sessions are required by the court and mediators are assigned via a rotating list.   In the case of private mediation, a higher per hour rate is charged by appointment with a private mediator.   Standard private mediation fees average $300 or more per hour.

 

Types of Mediation & Programs Available at the Center

The Center’s income for administration and operations is derived from several sources.   As this is a community effort, qualified supporting sponsors will play an integral role in providing funding through contributions, private grants and matching programs as well as administrative fees assessed on each mediation service provided.   Mediation at the Center is offered in 90-minute blocks at the rate of $250 per session.   The Center has great flexibility to set up truly supportive ongoing relationships with lenders and agencies that are in need of a designated regional location.   Custom rate/fee structures can be tailored to fit the needs of these agencies.

 

 

Type

Description / Notes

Real Estate Mediation

Foreclosure, tenant/landlord disputes, mortgage mediation, etc.

County/Small Claims Mediation

Small claims, credit card dispute resolution, etc.

Family Mediation

Child contact, schedule for parent/child, child support, etc.

Divorce Mediation

Goal for many is to achieve a mediation agreement to be able to file an uncontested divorce. (Uncontested = $2000 cost vs. $20,000+ for contested)

Circuit Civil

Damages and disputes over $15,000

Construction Mediation

Disputes, damages, etc.

Insurance Mediation

For property & casualty claims.   (Note: The State is closing their Orlando office plus 10 others in Florida leaving only lenders offices and a large void throughout the state.)

Nonprofit Education linking

The large educational/presentation room allows the resource center to invite other nonprofits (such as HUD certified providers) to use our larger facilities for free.   This allows large numbers of clients, potential home buyers, etc. to utilize the center.   Most of these programs are free to the public, while others will be tailored to fit public needs at low cost rates such as parenting class for dependency, etc.

 

How We Work With Mediators

The Center provides qualified mediators, or we are happy to provide space to area mediators who would like to enjoy the benefits of working out of the Center on an as needed basis rather than absorbing the cost of their own facility.   Those mediators that have been pre-qualified to work on the Center’s rotating internal staff list are paid at a rate of $150 per 90-minute session.   Outside mediators who handle client billing on their own and have an interest in simply using the Center’s facilities are welcome to make inquiries to discuss their needs.      

 

New Facilities for 2009

Mediations currently functions out of several temporary locations.   Due to the demand for services we are in the process of selecting a new cooperative sponsoring facility.   There are very definite benefits inherent in hosting the Center.   These are outlined below in addition to our space requirements, and we are currently accepting applications from commercial property owners who find themselves with unused space in a difficult economy.   If you have a commercial property you would like to be considered for this opportunity, please fill out the application available on the Earth Angels United website at www.EarthAngelsUnited.org.

 

Real Estate Requirements

As mentioned above, the 2009 timeline includes initiating a relationship with a commercial real estate owner who would be willing to donate a 12 month lease minimum/12 month term with 2800 sq ft approximate space.   This would provide a triple benefit to the property owner.   As Earth Angels United is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, this may create tax deductible advantages; it will also fill previously vacant space with high traffic flow potential that utilizes other area businesses; and provides a potential commercial tenant once all aspects of the Mediation Resource Center are initiated and functioning.

 

The preferred location for this first center is in southern Seminole County or northern Orange County so that it is easily accessible to mediation participants at the heart of central Florida.   This Center is being formatted for duplication in any county or area of the country and will link multiple central Florida nonprofits and providers for easier community service access and affordable, quality solutions.

 

The minimum room layout for facilities should include (3-5) 12’x12’ mediation rooms, (2) 10’x12’ staff offices, (1) 10’x12’ storage/file/copier room, (1) 10’x12’ break room, (2) 10’x10’ standard bathrooms, (1) 10’x12’ entryway/waiting area for security and reception/intake and (1) large 30’x40’ education/program presentation room.

 

Regional Competitive Analysis

There are several key points that provide great strength to the installation of this Mediation Resource Center.

·                     Leanne Levett, the current Executive Director of Earth Angels is a Supreme Court Certified Mediator with a 20+ year history of working with the Central Florida courts in Seminole, Orange, Brevard, Lake, Volusia and Osceola.

·                     Earth Angels United has been working with Seminole County as administrator of the Foreclosure Mediation Program since September 4, 2008.

·                     Additional counties are struggling with the same overcrowding of dockets and have inquired about this new program for potential implementation.  

·                     This Resource Center can draw on no less than 5-7 additional types of mediation types that are in high demand, including inquiries received for several programs to provide services due to office closings required by budget cutbacks.  

·                     County and State budgets are in crisis with billions of dollars projected in shortfalls that will adversely affect the court systems as well, leaving opportunity for community supported options to fill the gaps.

·                     Earth Angels United is linked as a nonprofit resource through the United Way 21rate/fee Resource network of providers which provides free education to the public to assist in dealing with the devastating multi-layered effect of the United States real estate crisis.   This networking and broadcasting of services provides a multitude of community resources.

·                     Due to the flexibility that this facility can offer in providing resources at all levels, it is both   a true community resource that is seriously required at this time, as well as an excellent model for a self-sustaining nonprofit facility.

 

 

For additional assistance, information

or to make a mediation appointment please contact:

 

Leanne Levett

Phone/Message Center: 407-263-4128

Email: info@earthangelsunited.org

 

© 2009 Earth Angels United