September 24, 2012
Contact: Ron Klug, 518-486-6976
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP ROCKLAND COUNTY HOMEOWNERS
Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners in Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27 at Airmont Shopping Plaza, Rt. 59 in Airmont
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help Rockland County area homeowners struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.
Department representatives will be available to meet homeowners from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Department’s Mobile Command Center (MCC), which will be located in the Airmont Shopping Plaza in the parking lot near ShopRite at 250 Route 59 in Airmont.
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 Assemblywoman Ellen C. Jaffee said: “We in government have a clear moral imperative to help keep people in their homes, especially those who have fallen prey to the predatory practices of sub-prime lenders. But the need to stem this crisis goes much deeper. That’s why I’m so pleased the State Department of Financial Services, and especially its Superintendent, Ben Lawsky, will come to the aid of our community. Rockland homeowners need to know there is help available, both at the state and federal level, and the counselors who will be here on September 27th are providing the tools to access these resources.”
Gerri Levy, Executive Director of the Rockland Housing Action Coalition (RHAC) said: "I am thrilled to see that Governor Cuomo's recent foreclosure prevention initiatives have significantly assisted financially distressed homeowners living in Rockland County. Our foreclosure counselors are very excited about working side-by-side with representatives from the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) to help homeowners obtain affordable mortgage modifications. The combination of foreclosure prevention assistance from state and local levels will certainly have a positive impact on Rockland County residents and their families."
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, 1-800-269-0990 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.