Department of Financial Services Launching Statewide Effort to Stem Mortgage Foreclosures

Department Deploying Staff and Mobile Command Center to Foreclosure Hotspots Initiative to Begin in Islip in Suffolk County at 8 a.m., Thursday Media Availability at 10 a.m.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, is launching a statewide effort to stem mortgage foreclosures by helping homeowners at risk of losing their homes. The initiative will begin Thursday in Suffolk County, which has the highest number of home foreclosures in New York State.

“Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Financial Services to use all of the resources at its disposal to assist homeowners already in foreclosure and those at risk of foreclosure,” Superintendent Lawsky said. “We will be sending staff and our Mobile Command Center to areas of the State where foreclosures are the biggest problem. Our message to homeowners is seek help as soon as you have a problem. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to save your home.”

Homeowners will be able to get help from foreclosure counselors who will staff the Department’s Mobile Command Center from 8 a.m. through 7 p.m., Thursday.

The command center will be located at the Pathmark supermarket at 101 Wicks Rd. in Brentwood, Town of Islip.

Counselors will assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process and provide homeowners information about specific loan modifications available under federal law. They will also take complaints from homeowners who believe they were subjected to lender or mortgage servicer abuses so these cases can be investigated by the Department.

Superintendent Lawsky, state Senator Lee M. Zeldin, Assemblyman Phil Ramos and other local officials will also be present to meet with homeowners. A media availability will take place at 10 a.m.

The officials will then tour nearby neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures.

The mobile command center will be sent to other locations following its deployment to Islip. The command center is a 36-foot long van equipped with computers and communications systems and normally used to respond to natural disaster emergencies.

“The Department wants to help people avoid losing their homes and focus attention on an enormous issue. Tens of thousands of homeowners in New York State are now either in foreclosure or at risk of going into foreclosure,” Superintendent Lawsky said.

Governor Cuomo announced the formation of the foreclosure prevention unit within Department of Financial Services last month in his State of the State address. Since then, the Department has been pinpointing areas in the state with high rates of foreclosure or areas where high rates of foreclosure may emerge.