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Press Release

September 18, 2012

Contact: David Neustadt, 212-709-1691

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IN SUFFOLK COUNTY

Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center at Village of Islandia Town Hall, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sept. 21

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help Suffolk County homeowners struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.

Foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet homeowners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21 in the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center (MCC) which will be located at the Village of Islandia Town Hall.

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.”

State Senator Lee M. Zeldin said: “This Mobile Command Unit will hopefully provide much needed assistance to our constituents who are struggling with foreclosure. I am very pleased that the Department of Financial Services will be offering its services in our community and I want to especially thank Governor Cuomo, Superintendent Lawsky and Assemblyman Graf for their partnership and leadership initiating this very important effort. It is critical that we do everything we can to help our neighbors avoid losing their homes and I encourage everyone affected by the devastating foreclosure crisis to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

Assemblyman Al Graf said: “In today’s economic times, where people are hurting financially it is important to throw out a lifeline to help those we represent get through these tough times. I applaud Governor Cuomo's efforts to help homeowners struggling to save their homes."

Marianne Garvin, President and CEO, Community Development Corporation of Long Island, said, “Many homeowners on Long Island are hurting and need help saving their homes. CDC of Long Island applauds Governor Cuomo for focusing strong, consistent attention on this problem that continues to be a human and community tragedy.”

Representatives of the Long Island Community Development Corp. will join with the Department in offering help to homeowners.

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.

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