The foreclosure prevention advocacy community is shocked and dismayed that, after repeatedly and publicly acknowledging the devastating impact of foreclosures, the Governor proposed an Executive Budget that eliminates all funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program. This program is the only statewide funding source for housing counseling and legal assistance to homeowners in foreclosure. While new efforts to improve regulation of banks and mortgage servicers by the Department of Financial Services will help, without direct services for homeowners New York’s foreclosure process will fall apart. New York requires all banks to refer delinquent customers to housing agencies for counseling – now without funding, homeowners will be left to manage the complex foreclosure process on their own. How can homeowners go into court without the advice and assistance of an attorney and be expected to do battle against a rich and well-represented banking industry? Homeowners across the state will be left at the mercy of unscrupulous servicers and scam artists looking to take advantage of them, rather than being able to turn to a state funded not for profit housing counselor or legal services attorney for help. Left to stand, this will be a disaster for New York’s economy, our communities and our families. Where New York was once served as an example of fair foreclosure practices, it will now be left to languish. To avoid a disastrous impact on New York homeowners and the economy, we urge Governor Cuomo to restore funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in his 30 day amendments.
From page 38 of the Governor’s Financial Plan: http://publications.budget.ny.gov/eBudget1213/financialPlan/FinPlan.pdf :
The housing sector has been virtually absent from this recovery. If home foreclosures accelerate substantially more than expected, a housing market recovery could be further delayed. A surge in foreclosures could also impede the recovery in home prices, which would in turn delay the recovery in household net worth, also resulting in lower rates of household spending than projected.
For More Information Contact: NYC/Legal Services: Meghan Faux, South Brooklyn Legal Services: (718) 755]0701
UPSTATE/Housing Counseling: Hilary Lamishaw, NeighborWorks Alliance of NYS: (518) 527-1474