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AG Schneiderman announces $6.9M to help families avoid foreclosure

26 Brooklyn organizations receive grants

New York state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the recipients of grants from his Homeowner Protection Program, which funds housing counseling and legal services for struggling New York homeowners.

Monday’s announcement covers the first year of program funding at $20 million to aid struggling homeowners across New York state who are fighting to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.

Some 26 organizations that are active in Brooklyn have received grants. These range from the Bridge Street Development Corp. to CAMBA, from the Midwood Development Corp. to the Pratt Area Community Council.

Meghan Faux, senior attorney in the Foreclosure Litigation Unit at South Brooklyn Legal Services, said, “The Attorney General’s HOPP program is coming at a critical time in the foreclosure crisis.

“There are even more opportunities to get New York homeowners relief thanks to the Attorney General’s leadership on the National Mortgage Settlement, but it takes an incredible amount of time and resources to move even one of these cases forward. The HOPP program will be a critical companion piece to maximizing relief for homeowners under the National Mortgage Settlement.”

According to data collected by the New York Federal Reserve, one in 10 mortgages in New York City is either in foreclosure or at serious risk of foreclosure because the mortgage is more than 90 days delinquent.

In both Brooklyn and Queens, where the problem is most severe, the Fed estimates that 12 percent of homeowners are in foreclosure or at serious risk.

The Homeowner Protection Program funding announced by Attorney General Schneiderman will benefit homeowners at risk of foreclosure within the five boroughs and across New York state.

Direct service providers will use the announced funds to assist homeowners in navigating the long and often complicated process of applying for loan modifications and seeking other foreclosure prevention alternatives.

In recent years almost half of homeowners facing foreclosure have been forced to navigate the process without an attorney and 63 percent of New Yorkers, are not represented at settlement conferences. Many also lack access to housing counselors.

“The rise in foreclosures in New York City and across the state is troubling, but this isn’t just a matter of numbers: Each foreclosure represents a devastating loss for a family and a community. This program puts homeowners first, and these organizations will help get our neighborhoods back on track,” said Schneiderman.

New York’s comprehensive foreclosure prevention law entitles homeowners to a 90 day pre-foreclosure notice before a lender can begin a foreclosure action. This notice is required to include a list of at least five nonprofit housing counseling agencies that can assist homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

September 24, 2012 - 10:20am


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