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The Center was invited to speak yesterday at Community Board 17’s (CB17) Housing Committee meeting. CB 17 represents the Brooklyn neighborhoods of East Flatbush, Remsen Village, Ditmas Village, and Rugby.
As Outreach Coordinator for the Center, I spoke about our work, partners, and programs. My colleague Clementine Brown also gave an informative presentation on our Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) and Angela Davidson from Neighborhood Services of East Flatbush, one of our Brooklyn Network Partners, discussed reverse mortgages.
Thank you to Mrs. Barnett, Ms. Bayobeni, and everyone else who attended from Community Board 17 for the invitation and warm reception!
If you are interested in having the Center attend or present at your upcoming event, please contact me at 646-237-5917 or email@example.com.
Clementine Brown discussing the Mortgage Assistance Program with attendees
Meredith Nissenbaum, this post’s author, is completing her internship at the Center for New York City Neighborhoods today. We wish her the best of luck with the rest of her school year at Dartmouth College!
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The Center for NYC Neighborhoods strives to promote and protect affordable homeownership in neighborhoods across New York City. In most cases, the Center tries to keep homeowners in their current homes. However, some homeowners are faced with the challenging reality that the most affordable option may not be to stay in their home, but rather to explore a new beginning.
The Housing Mobility Program (HMP) was launched in 2013 with the intention of helping homeowners explore non-retention options. HMP assists homeowners in a multitude of ways including
- Helping homeowners understand their current financial situation
- Giving clients advice on housing and financial options when home retention is not possible
- Guiding the homeowner in finding new housing
- Determining whether relocation grants and other funds are available
- Connecting homeowners with trusted realtors to work on the sale of the home.
- Connecting with financial advisors and other services.
HMP staff give homeowners the information they need to make an educated decision regarding their housing situation. Recognizing that the decision to move can be very difficult for homeowners; HMP . can help counselors and clients begin what can be a difficult conversation. The Center has also found that some homeowners may have difficulty affording their moving expenses, as they may have experienced financial trauma related to medical needs, family expenses, or unemployment. Therefore, HMP provides one-time grants of up to $500 for homeowners transitioning to new housing.
As of December 2013, HMP has 34 cases that are currently in progress. The following is an example of one of the first cases taken on by HMP:
Ms. S was referred to the Center’s Housing Mobility Program by one of our legal services partners, the City Bar Justice Center, just weeks before Ms. S. was about to lose her home to foreclosure. Ms. S is a senior who struggled to keep up her mortgage payments after losing her part-time job. Without employment income, she could not afford to pay the monthly mortgage payments for her home in the South Bronx.
In search of decent and affordable housing, Ms. S. and the City Bar Justice Center looked to the Center. We were able to connect Ms. S with an apartment that she could afford by working with our community partners. On November 1, 2013, Ms S. moved into an apartment just two miles from her previous home, with a drastically more affordable rent. The building provides Ms. S with a safe and secure senior living environment, with laundry facilities on-site, an elevator, and outdoor space.
In addition, HMP worked closely to coordinate a series of activities aimed to facilitate Ms. S’s move, including attending home visits to better assess Ms. S’s needs, providing her with a relocation grant to cover her security deposit and first month’s rent, and raising an additional $1,500 in financial assistance to support Ms. S’s transition process.
HMP is already assisting a sizable group of clients. Rudy Ulin, Housing Mobility Coordinator, feels that “the need [for this program] is there, especially when a significant number of cases in the settlement conferences are now being resolved with non retention workouts”. Ulin hopes that the program “will become a central resource for New York City homeowners exploring non-retention options.” On a larger scale, the Center expects that this program will be integrated into housing counselors and legal services provider’s approaches to non-retention issues. Even if a homeowner is years off from having to make a decision about their home, the Center believes that starting the conversation early about all available options makes the process significantly more manageable. In an ideal world, every homeowner facing financial problems would be able to stay in their home. However, the reality is that the most affordable option for a select group of homeowners is to move forward. Not only does HMP help them in the process of finding a new home, but more importantly, provides homeowners with explanations, support, and hope for their future.
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Check out this week’s City & State joint op-ed on GSE reform, written by our Executive Director Christie Peale and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York’s 12th District. In the op-ed, Christie and Rep. Maloney discuss the importance of keeping the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in any reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
For more information on housing finance reform and its impact on affordable homeownership, you can read the Center’s policy brief on GSE reform, Moving Forward on Housing Finance Reform.
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Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Benjamin M. Lawsky, the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, announced a proposal that would authorize shared appreciation mortgage modifications for New Yorkers. And there was more exciting news later in the day: Representative Mel Watt was confirmed by the Senate as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Center issued statements on both announcements, which you can read here.
For homeowners in New York City, the approval of shared appreciation mortgage modifications and the confirmation of Rep. Watt together have the potential to significantly increase the number of modifications with principal reduction to homeowners who need it most. In the previous blog post, we outlined why we support principal reduction for underwater homeowners. Principal reduction can prevent foreclosures, make housing affordable, and encourage continued investment in our neighborhoods. We encourage you to share this exciting news with your network.
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The Center for New York City Neighborhoods was proud to stand with Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Jennifer Ching, Project Director at Queens Legal Services, last month to announce a historic $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. This settlement will return $1 billion to communities across New York State, representing a monumental victory for New York homeowners.
Center for New York City Neighborhoods Executive Director Christie Peale stands with New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman at the November press conference announcing a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase.
The $13 billion settlement resolves federal and state civil claims with JPMorgan Chase arising from the sale of residential mortgage-based securities prior to 2009. It will provide $4 billion in consumer relief, of which roughly $400 million will flow directly to New Yorkers experiencing some form of mortgage distress.
This settlement represents a critical victory for homeowners and advocates and the resources it will provide for New Yorkers are strongly needed. The challenges of the foreclosure crisis have been with us since 2007, and, for many New Yorkers, are a daily source of stress, confusion, and anger. It may not be in the papers every day, but across the state and the country, families are confronting one of the biggest and hardest challenges they’ve ever met. According to a recent report from New York State’s courts, there are over 80,000 homeowners across the state stuck in the legal process of foreclosure—and tens of thousands more who are behind on their mortgages.
In addition to providing more funding for legal services and housing counseling, we at the Center for New York City Neighborhoods are especially pleased to see that the settlement includes strong provisions mandating first lien principal reductions. The Chase settlement improves on advances made under the National Mortgage Settlement by putting targets and timelines on principal reduction, giving advocates the tools they need to hold banks accountable.
After working with over 25,000 homeowners, we’ve learned that principal reduction is the gold standard when it comes to preventing foreclosures. Principal reduction programs reduce mortgage balances for underwater homes, thereby making monthly payments affordable again and allowing homeowners to remain in their homes.
There are numerous benefits to principal reduction for homeowners, lenders, and communities. Helping homeowners remain in their homes is essential for those communities that have been destabilized by a tide of foreclosures. Properties that are foreclosed upon cause neighboring property values to drop, as well as an increase in crime rates. Principal reduction programs can also benefit lenders by allowing them to avoid the costly foreclosure process.
New research has demonstrated that principal reduction is the most effective way to keep underwater homeowners from losing their homes:
– A recent Standard & Poors analysis has shown that the likelihood of a new default is much lower for borrowers who obtain a principal reduction, and that these borrowers generally have a better chance of staying current on their mortgages afterward.
– A government analysis of outcomes from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) found that homeowners who receive principal reductions are more likely to remain current on their mortgage payments than homeowners who received loan modifications without principal reductions. The study determined that homeowners who received loan modifications with principal reductions were 24% less likely to redefault than those who received a modification with payment reductions, but neither forgiveness nor forbearance.
This settlement with JPMorgan Chase gives us the opportunity to show other banks further evidence that principal reduction works. It will mean more homeowners making mortgage payments, staying in their homes, and leading the way to a strong economic recovery.
Executive Director, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
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As New York City homeowners continue the costly recovery from Hurricane Sandy, The Center remains committed to delivering resources to assist those most in need. For New Yorkers who are having difficulty with their mortgage payments, the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) is one potential source of financial assistance.
MAP makes loans of up to $25,000 to eligible homeowners that can be used towards loan workouts that avoid foreclosure and keep people in their homes. MAP loans are at 0% interest and repayment is deferred so that monthly payments are not required.
Here are examples of how MAP has helped homeowners in mortgage distress as part of their recovery from Sandy:
- A Far Rockaway family whose temporary loss of employment due to Sandy left them unable to make their monthly mortgage payments. MAP provided the funds necessary to bring their mortgage current so they could resume making their mortgage payments once they returned to full-time employment.
- A disabled Staten Island homeowner who struggled to pay repair expenses on a fixed income while his mortgage was in a forbearance plan. MAP has been approved to pay off the amount he is behind on his first mortgage and settle his second mortgage, which will greatly reduce his monthly expenses.
- A Brooklyn family who used their savings to recover from Sandy, leaving them unable to afford the payments on their second mortgage. MAP is working to negotiate a settlement of the second mortgage, which is impinging on their ability to continue making payments on their first mortgage.
- An Arverne family that spent more than $12,000 in out-of-pocket repair costs and was unable to continue making payments on their first and second mortgages. MAP brought their first mortgage current and worked with one of our Network Partners to modify the second mortgage to a more affordable payment.
MAP funds are still available to help others in need! Dial 311 or call us directly at 646-786-0888 to access free help.
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Last year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), a three year, $60 million commitment by the Office of the Attorney General to fund and support housing counselors and legal services providers assisting homeowners at risk of foreclosure. As the administrator and manager of HOPP in New York City, The Center has partnered with 35 agencies that work one-on-one with homeowners to prevent foreclosures and stabilize our neighborhoods. Today, Attorney General Schneiderman announced the second $20 million funding commitment under the program and issued a report illustrating the first year’s successes. The Center is proud of our partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman and our accomplishments in year one.
In the past year:
- 8,012 households have been assisted by The Center’s HOPP-funded Network Partners
- Nearly half of those households had an annual income of less than $50,000
- The Center’s Call Center connected over 4,000 homeowners to free help at HOPP-funded agencies across the state
Read the official press release from the Office of the Attorney General
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The Federal Government shutdown has impacted millions of individuals and families across the country. As of today, there is little information regarding just how long the shutdown could last. We have compiled a list of information pertaining to various federally funded programs and how the shutdown might affect you and your clients.
- Recipients can expect payments to continue on time with no change in payment dates
- New or replacement SS cards, and proof-of-income letters are on hold as of now
Medicare and Medicaid:
- Medicare payments will continue on time for the time being (the federal funds go to the states on a quarterly basis)
- Some new applicants could experience a delay with the processing of their applications
- Replacement Medicare cards are on hold
- Checks will continue, but there may be delays
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Currently not receiving money from the Federal Government but many states have enough funding available
SNAP or Food Stamps
- SNAP payments will continue for the time being. The program is funded by the Recovery Act through October
- About $2 billion in SNAP contingency funds are available and could be used to support state administrative activities to issue and process benefits. Contingency funds are provided in annual appropriations and do not expire until the end of FY2014.
- New York State WIC (Women’s Infants and Children Program) will continue to serve participants until further notice.
- USDA authorized retailers should continue to accept SNAP EBT cards. (http://otda.ny.gov/)
- Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehab programs should continue through late October. If shutdown is prolonged, programs will be suspended once funding is exhausted
- Veterans will not receive disability compensation in November – some will see pension payments stopped
- New applicants will experience delays in processing new disability applications
- FHA will be able to endorse single family loans during the shutdown. A limited number of FHA staff will be available to underwrite and approve new loans however; the underwriting and approval process will be slower. 
Please be sure to contact the appropriate agency for the most up to date information.
Feel free to contact us on Facebook or Twitter with specific questions.
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NEW YORK, NY, September, 19, 2013- The Center for New York City Neighborhoods (the Center) today released a report highlighting five years helping homeowners fight foreclosure in New York City. The report, titled “Home by Home: Neighborhood Stabilization in New York City” documents the local repercussions of the national crisis and highlights the work of the Center’s network of housing counselors and attorneys with thousands of homeowners struggling to keep their homes. As the country marks 5 years since the Lehman bankruptcy and its impact on Wall Street, the Center’s report “Home by Home” looks at the impact of the financial crisis on the streets of NYC’s neighborhoods.
Highlights from the Report:
- The Center’s network provided foreclosure prevention services to over 18,000 homeowners since 2008.
- 5,500 housing units have been stabilized through loan modifications and other workouts.
- The monthly mortgage payment of households that received loan modifications went down by $1,262 on average.
- Over $1.3 billion worth of assets have been restructured through modifications.
The typical client who receives services from the Center’s network earns just over $50,000 a year. The Center’s Board Chair, Herb Sturz said, “The public-private partnerships forged at the Center have helped thousands of New Yorkers in mortgage distress over the last five years. We are proud of the successes of our network but are keenly aware that there is much work ahead of us, as many New Yorkers still confront the possibility of foreclosure. The Center is committed to helping these homeowners navigate the foreclosure process and to regain financial stability.”
Christie Peale, Executive Director of the Center said, “‘Home by Home’ underscores for all of us the depth and complexity of the mortgage crisis here in New York City, which has persisted even as other parts of the country have seen signs of recovery. It also reinforces a fundamental principle of our work at the Center: housing counseling and legal services are among the most cost effective solutions for homeowners in mortgage distress. Whatever the challenges, our partners who provide these free, professional services will continue to play a critical role in protecting affordable homeownership in New York. ”
In addition to the Center’s work in foreclosure prevention, their role in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery is highlighted in “Home by Home” as a source of funding to network groups (to help impacted residents get navigate FEMA and insurance claims) and for recovery grants and loans provided directly to homeowners with housing financial needs resulting from the storm.
About the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (The Center)
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods (the Center) was created in 2008 in response to the foreclosure crisis through the collaborative efforts of Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Council, community advocates, foundations and corporate leaders. The Center’s mission is to promote and protect affordable and sustainable homeownership in New York City. As the central hub of a diverse network of service providers, the Center leverages private and public resources to ensure that homeowners citywide have access to high quality foreclosure prevention services. Visit www.cnycn.org or twitter.com/cnycn for more information.
Alana Massey, Communications Manager
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The Center for New York City Neighborhoods is excited to launch their brand new website!
This would not have been possible without the work of our design and development team at
CommandC or the incredibly talented photo and video team of THEY Bklyn. If you haven’t seen our promotional video yet to get an idea of who we are and what we do, please watch below!