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Press Release

December 11, 2013

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYING MOBILE COMMAND CENTER TO LONG ISLAND TO DELIVER FORECLOSURE PREVENTION HELP TO HOMEOWNERS

DFS Assistance Available for Homeowners in South Huntington on Thursday and Freeport on Friday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Mobile Command Center (MCC) to Long Island to provide foreclosure prevention assistance to financially struggling homeowners.

Department representatives will be available to meet homeowners in the MCC at these two locations:
· Thursday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at South Huntington Public Library, 145 Pidgeon Hill Rd. in South Huntington.
· Friday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Freeport Village Hall, 46 N. Ocean Ave. in Freeport.

"We are continuing to deliver help to homeowners who are financially struggling and in need of mortgage relief," Governor Cuomo said. "Our foreclosure prevention initiative is enabling residents across the state to meet face-to-face with skilled professionals who can discuss the options that may be available to help them save their homes."

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, "There are practical steps that homeowners can consider when they are facing the possibility of foreclosure. DFS professionals are returning to Long Island to continue to get the word out that there is assistance available for families who are struggling with their mortgages."

Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, “I am pleased to be partnering with Governor Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services to bring this very important program to Long Island residents. It can be a daunting task for a homeowner who is under financial duress to find out what’s available to them. We are here to help.”

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. said, “It's important that families who have fallen on hard times get access to the services which can help them. Through this program, homeowners can speak one-on-one with trained professionals and receive assistance and guidance about the options available to help them save their homes. I encourage anyone in need of assistance to take advantage of this service."

The DFS foreclosure prevention program has been used to extend help homeowners facing foreclosure since Governor Cuomo launched the program last year. The outreach program has visited locations throughout the state with high foreclosure rates. Governor Cuomo will also deploy the DFS Mobile Command Center to additional locations in the coming days and weeks to help continue reaching struggling homeowners. Specific locations and dates will be announced shortly.

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, 1-800-342-3736, 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.

DFS also urged homeowners to be cautious of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, 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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