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Loss Mitigation Strategies and Protections for Homeowners and Tenants - Training California Housing Counselors and Attorneys to Help Clients Impacted by Covid-19


Speaker(s): Benjamin Gottheim, Christine Holmes, Gina Di Giusto, Joseph Jaramillo, Lisa Sitkin, Nisha S. Ajmani
Recorded on: Nov. 19, 2020
PLI Program #: 311967

Ben Gottheim is the senior director of mortgage servicing policy in Freddie Mac’s Single-Family division. He and his team are responsible for creating policy regarding all aspects of mortgage servicing – this includes updates to the Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide and other terms of business. Prior to his current role, he spent his first two years at Freddie Mac managing a department responsible for foreclosure performance, timelines and compensatory fees.

Before joining Freddie Mac, Mr. Gottheim was an NPL buyer at a small mortgage company in Albany, New York, where he was responsible for purchasing and servicing non-performing mortgage assets and REO.

He earned his B.S. in management from Binghamton University (SUNY) with a double concentration in finance and MIS.

Freddie Mac provides liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today, Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. For more information, please visit www.FreddieMac.com and follow us on Twitter @FreddieMac.


Gina Di Giusto is a Senior Attorney at HERA and a graduate of Harvard Law School. Prior to joining HERA in 2013, Gina provided advice on landlord-tenant issues at a local legal services program, completed a fellowship at the Superior Court in Alameda County, and spent two years representing residents of publicly subsidized housing before local housing authorities. Gina was selected to the California Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list in 2016-20 for her work in consumer law; the "Rising Stars" list is selected by peer lawyers and recognizes no more than 2.5 percent of up-and-coming attorneys in each state. At HERA, Gina works on unfair debt collection, wrongful credit reporting, mortgage and foreclosure-related issues on behalf of Californians in need. Gina also brings significant litigation experience and expertise addressing abuses by homeowners' associations.


Joseph (Joe) Jaramillo is a Senior Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) in Oakland, California who has over twenty-years of experience in public interest law. His practice entails direct services, litigation and community education on consumer debt and credit issues affecting low to moderate income individuals. He counsels and assists homeowners on preventing foreclosure and modifying their home loans. He also counsels and assists pro se litigants in debt collection defense cases. He provides advice and education on credit repair issues. He has litigated individual and class action cases on behalf of consumers challenging unfair student loan debt collection, mortgage servicing abuses, predatory home improvement financing, housing discrimination, and automobile loan discrimination.

He previously litigated employment and consumer class actions at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho in Oakland, and GrahamHollis APC in San Diego. He also served as a Staff Attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in San Francisco. Born and raised in Vallejo, he earned his J.D. degree at UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and his B.A. degree at UC Davis.


Lisa Sitkin is a Senior Staff Attorney at National Housing Law Project (NHLP) in San Francisco, CA, where she engages in policy advocacy and provides technical assistance, training and practice resources to attorneys representing low-income homeowners and tenants. She has been practicing law since 1997. Prior to joining NHLP, Ms. Sitkin was a Managing Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland, CA. Ms. Sitkin has counseled and represented individual clients in foreclosure matters, participated in policy advocacy regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure at the state and federal levels, and assisted with mortgage servicing, predatory and unfair lending litigation. She has conducted numerous workshops and trainings regarding mortgages, foreclosures, loan modification and foreclosure rescue scams, including programs produced by the Practicing Law Institute, the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Attorneys, and has testified before the California State Legislature and other governmental bodies regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure issues. She has been active in legislative and regulatory advocacy related to homeowner and tenant relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is one of the original drafters of the bill that ultimately became the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.


Nisha Ajmani is a staff attorney at HERA. She focuses her work on tenant advocacy, including helping tenants resolve issues related to credit reporting, debt collection, housing discrimination, habitability, and landlord disputes.

Prior to joining HERA, Nisha was a Housing Staff Attorney at Family Violence Law Center, in Oakland, where she advocated on behalf of domestic violence survivors who were dealing with housing legal issues. Her work there included in-court representation of survivors in obtaining restraining and move-out orders and defending against evictions. Nisha has also spent a substantial portion of her legal career advocating on behalf of system-involved youth.

Nisha was a summer legal intern at HERA in 2011 and a post-graduate attorney fellow at HERA in 2013. Nisha earned her J.D. in 2012 from the University of Oregon School of Law.