July 09, 2012
Contact: Ron Klug: 518-486-6976
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO OFFER HELP TO HOMEOWNERS THROUGHOUT THE BRONX
Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center 2130 Bartow Ave., corner of Co-op City Blvd. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 11
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that state government, in partnership with North Bronx and South Bronx Neighborhood Housing Services, is reaching out to offer help to homeowners throughout the Bronx who are struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.
Foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet homeowners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 11 in the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center (MCC), which will be located at 2130 Bartow Ave., at the corner of Co-op City Blvd.
Governor Cuomo said "It is essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners. The objective is to provide direct help to homeowners and get the word out to others that it’s important to ask for help as quickly as possible. The longer a homeowner waits, the harder it may be to save a home."
Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to launch the foreclosure prevention program in January as a means of extending help to homeowners in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure. Since then, the program has visited more than a dozen sites with high foreclosure rates throughout the state.
Superintendent Lawsky said: “It’s important that homeowners who start to see financial problems know that there are more options available to them if they act sooner, rather than later. The foreclosure prevention program allows homeowners to meet one-on-one with foreclosure prevention specialists who are knowledgeable and can offer practical guidance.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: “I appreciate the State Department of Financial Services’ efforts to bring help to struggling homeowners here in the Bronx. Too many homeowners in our Borough and across the City have lost their homes as a result of the recession, and far too many are still at risk of foreclosure. It is important for homeowners to seek help as quickly as possible when they are in financial trouble. Keeping the spotlight on the foreclosure crisis and the availability of services for homeowners is imperative in helping our residents keep afloat during these economic times.”
Senator Ruth Hassell Thompson said: "This important event will provide financially troubled home-owners with critical and confidential counseling. I urge anyone who has questions or concerns to come and speak with a foreclosure prevention specialist. It is through assisting families and helping them stay in their homes that our community will grow again and prosper."
Assembly Member Carl E. Heastie said, “I welcome the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center to my district to address one of the most pressing issues in our community. My district is one of the hardest hit areas in the city for foreclosures and homeowners need to know what their options are before disaster strikes. This is a tremendous opportunity for those in need to get help.”
Oscar Morillo, and Raiza Martinez, Executive Directors of Neighborhood Housing Services of North Bronx and South Bronx, said: "NHS foreclosure counseling unit, with certified homeownership counselors, is prepared to work with homeowners at risk of foreclosure to help them submit their loan modification applications to their loan servicers and provide the necessary follow up until a resolution is achieved, as well as to prepare the modification application package for homeowners to bring it to the settlement conference in court.”
State Resources Available to Homeowners
The state’s foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS foreclosure specialists who assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process. Depending on individuals’ specific situations, the specialists may offer homeowners assistance in such areas as:
· Applying for mortgage modifications or providing help to homeowners who have already sought mortgage modifications.
· Interceding on behalf of homeowners with their mortgage lenders or servicers.
· Assisting homeowners in communicating with mortgage lenders or servicers.
· Accepting complaints from homeowners who believe they were victimized by mortgage lending abuses, so complaints can be investigated by the Department.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselors will also be available to offer assistance to homeowners.
Homeowners unable to meet personally with foreclosure prevention specialists are urged to the call the Department’s toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-269-0990 or 518-457-1654, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.
The Department urged homeowners to be wary of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, the Department said homeowners should:
· Be wary of anyone asking for an upfront fee in exchange for getting a loan modification, saving a home from default or stopping a foreclosure or tax sale. New York law prohibits the collection of such fees in most cases. Also, many not-for-profit housing counselors will help homeowners negotiate with lenders for free.
· Be wary of anyone who says they can save a home if a homeowner signs or transfers the deed to his or her house over to them so the homeowner can catch up on mortgage payments or refinance a loan. A homeowner should never submit mortgage payments to anyone other than the homeowner’s mortgage company without its approval.