August 22, 2012
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP MASTIC BEACH AREA HOMEOWNERS
Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’
Mobile Command Center at William Paca Middle School, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, August 24
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help Mastic Beach area homeowners struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.
Department representatives will be available to meet homeowners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 24 at the William Paca Middle School, 338 Blanco Drive, Mastic Beach in the Department of Financial Services' Mobile Command Center (MCC).
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.
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, 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."
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said, "Too many homeowners are facing foreclosure and don’t know where to turn. I am hopeful that residents will take advantage of this opportunity to obtain free, reliable assistance. Whether you’re from Mastic or Montauk or anywhere in between, I urge you to come out."
Legislator Kate Browning said, "Our national economy continues to struggle and homeowners are the most effected. We must do everything in our power to assist all homeowners that have fallen on tough times, and the Governor Cuomo’s Foreclosure Prevention Program is doing just that. Not only does this program come right to affected residents’ neighborhoods, but it assures them that they will not be victimized by predatory schemes. I want to thank Assemblyman Thiele for advocating to bring this much needed service to Mastic."
State Resources Available to Homeowners
The state’s foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS representatives 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 DFS representatives 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.