Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services, in partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of Bedford-Stuyvesant, is reaching out to offer help to Bedford-Stuyvesant area homeowners in Brooklyn struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.
Foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet homeowners from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 14 in the Department of Financial Services' Mobile Command Center (MCC) at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza. The MCC will be located on the Herkimer Street side of the plaza at 380 Herkimer St. The program is being presented as part of the Family Health & Resource Day sponsored by Assembly Member Annette M. Robinson and co-sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Council Member Albert Vann.
"It is essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners," Governor Cuomo said. "This initiative will help provide direct assistance to homeowners and get the word out to others that it is important to ask for help as quickly as possible. The longer a homeowner waits, the harder it may be to save a home."
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to launch the foreclosure prevention program 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.
Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin M. 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."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, "I'm very happy to be able to co-sponsor the Community Health & Resource Day event with Assembly member Robinson and Council Member Vann. We all know well how devastating foreclosure can be on a family. I'm please that the State Department of Financial Services will provide the foreclosure van to assist homeowners with concerns they have regarding foreclosure. I encourage all my constituent homeowners in the 18th Senatorial District to take advantage of this."
Assembly Member Annette M. Robinson said, "I am happy to sponsor this event with Senator Montgomery and Council Member Vann. The Districts we serve have homeowners who are concerned about foreclosure. As Chairperson of the Assembly Banking Committee, I work closely with the State Department of Financial Services to help alleviate this problem throughout New York State. I urge all residents to attend the Community Health and Resource Day and strongly encourage all homeowners to speak to the staff of the foreclosure van if they are experiencing foreclosure issues."
Council Member Albert Vann said, "As chair of the City Council's Community Development committee, I'm very aware that maintaining homeownership by preventing foreclosure is an essential component of neighborhood health. So it's very appropriate that these services are being provided as part of this year's Health and Resource Day. I encourage residents to take full advantage of this opportunity for confidential, individualized consultation and other services. Because with foreclosure, as in other matters of health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
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.