Attorney General Letitia James announced $10 million in grant funding as part of a total $20 million allocation to support New York homeowners struggling with foreclosure. The Homeowner Protection Program connects homeowners to free, qualified mortgage-assistance relief services across New York.
According to FHFA’s 2020 first-quarter report on foreclosure prevention actions, just over 170,000 New York homeowners asked for a forbearance on their payments, compared to around 7,000 that were filed in the last quarter of 2019. As mortgage payment deferrals due to COVID-19 begin to expire, New Yorkers, more than ever, need this support to ensure they can remain in their homes.
The funding supports a network of more than 80 housing counselors and legal service organizations that have helped more than 100,000 families avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. The Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and the Empire Justice Center to help manage and coordinate the program.
The Office of the Attorney General established the protection program in 2012 in response to rising foreclosures stemming from the financial crisis. However, even a decade beyond the “housing crisis,” communities across New York state continue to face many challenges related to homeowner stability, such as continued foreclosures, predatory mortgage lending, deed theft, and other scams.
Until now, the funding for the program came from bank settlements secured by the attorney general’s office. Funding will also continue to support educational and referral services. Now the program is state funded, and the New York state legislature has allocated a total of $20 million to support the program through a ninth year.
The attorney general’s office cannot assist with mortgage payments; however, homeowners throughout New York who are behind on their mortgage or other charges can get free help in their community by calling the homeownership partnership hotline at (855) 466-3456.