Department of Financial Services Assistance Available For Homeowners in Laurelton on Nov. 12 and St. Albans on Nov. 14
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center to Queens to provide foreclosure prevention assistance to homeowners. Department of Financial Services representatives will be available to meet homeowners at the following two locations:
- Wednesday, Nov. 12 – Queens Library Laurelton Branch, 134-25 225th St.
- Friday, Nov. 14 – Queens Library St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Blvd.
The sites will be staffed each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We are deploying staff from the Department of Financial Services to Queens to provide hands-on help and advice that could help borrowers save their homes,” Governor Cuomo said. “This initiative is a vital resource for homeowners who are in financial distress, and I encourage all New Yorkers in the area who may need help with their mortgage to visit the Mobile Command Center this week.”
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said: “Homeowners taking advantage of this program are able to meet individually with experienced Department of Financial Services staff. We review each homeowner’s specific situation and our team offers them an opportunity to review possible options that may help them avoid foreclosure.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said: “The deployment of the Department of Financial Services' Mobile Command Center in Queens is a welcome resource that will go a long way toward helping our borough's homeowners avoid foreclosure. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services for going the extra mile to assist individual homeowners locally with the support and services they may need to avoid losing their homes."
Assembly Member Barbara M. Clark said: “According to one of the most reliable real-estate information services there are 2386 properties in some stage of foreclosure in the southeast Queens district I represent. At the human level these numbers translate into many homes lost and countless families set adrift. Therefore, despite no longer garnering front page attention, in some areas, the foreclosure crisis is still a crisis. As a consequence it is impossible to overstate the importance of the Department of Financial Service’s foreclosure avoidance assistance to be made available to two of these areas, Laurelton and St. Albans.”
Council Member I. Daneek Miller said: “Unfortunately, the foreclosure crisis is alive and well throughout the nation. In New York City alone nearly 100,000 properties have gone into foreclosure since 2008 and communities of color with high homeownership rates, such as Southeast Queens, have been disproportionally affected. It is imperative that residents seek education on this issue to promote better financial decision making. Through education and, as well, government action, we will neutralize the foreclosure epidemic.”
State Resources Available to Homeowners
Governor Cuomo launched the DFS foreclosure prevention program in 2012 to extend help to homeowners facing foreclosure. The outreach program has visited locations with higher rates of foreclosures throughout the State. Assistance is provided at no cost to homeowners. Depending on individuals’ specific situations, DFS 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 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 urges 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.