The Center in the News on GSE Reform

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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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Important News for NYC Homeowners

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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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Our Executive Director Christie Peale on Principal Reduction Modifications and the $13 Billion Settlement with JPMorgan Chase

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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.

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.

Christie Peale

Executive Director, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

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How MAP Can Help Homeowners Recovering from Sandy

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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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Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) Year One

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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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Attorney General’s State-Wide Hotline:
1-855-HOME-456

 

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How the Government Shut Down Could Impact You and Your Clients

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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.

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Social Security

  • Recipients can expect payments to continue on time with no change in payment dates[1]
  • 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

Unemployment

  • 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/)

Veterans Benefits

  • 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[2]
  • New applicants will experience delays in processing new disability applications[3]

FHA

  • 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. [4]

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.

1 http://blog.aarp.org/2013/10/04/social-security-enters-the-debt-ceiling-fray/
2 http://www.thenation.com/blog/176427/government-shutdown-will-hit-federal-workers-poor-americans#
3 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=230017633
4 http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/30/real_estate/mortgage-shutdown/

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Center for NYC Neighborhoods Report Reveals Progress in Foreclosure Prevention in NYC

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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.

Contact:

Alana Massey, Communications Manager

Alana.massey@cnycn.org

(646) 786-0890

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Welcome to Our New Site!

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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!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMkxOp3zLWk

 

 

 

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New York Daily News Profiles MAP Success!

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Phyllis Furman of the New York Daily News recently wrote an article on the Center’s announcement that 100 NYC homes have been saved from foreclosure due to the help of the program. MAP client Keith Cummings was featured in the article.  Upon publication, the Foreclosure Prevention Hotline received several calls from homeowners interested in MAP that we have now connected to housing counseling and legal services.

Read the full article here:

A city-sponsored mortgage assistance program hits milestone, handing out 100 zero interest loans to New Yorkers 

 

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Center for NYC Neighborhoods Announces 100 Homes Saved From Foreclosure By City’s Innovative Loan Program

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keith3NEW YORK – The Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN) Executive Director Christie Peale and NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua today announced that 100 loans have been provided to New York  City homeowners in mortgage distress through the City’s Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP). MAP provides loans of up to $25,000 to homeowners at risk of foreclosure to help them keep their homes by achieving sustainable, affordable mortgage payments. The program is funded by HPD as well as through private donations, including a grant from the Ford Foundation. To date, MAP has spent over $2 million to create and sustain affordable home ownership in New York City. On average, MAP loans have helped to reduce homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments from 42% of their monthly gross income to 31%. In addition to the 100 loans already funded, CNYCN has approved 48 MAP applications that will result in an additional $940,000 in funding.“CNYCN’s goal is to make affordable home ownership a reality in New York City. As the administrator of MAP, we are achieving that goal home by home, block by block. This milestone highlights the tremendous work that the housing counselors and legal services providers in our network are doing every day to support New York City homeowners,” said Christie Peale, Executive Director of CNYCN.

“Navigating the twists and turns of a looming foreclosure can be frightening and confusing for hardworking families that just can’t seem to make ends meet. The Center for New York City Neighborhoods is a boon for those homeowners, providing much needed guidance and support,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “Today we celebrate the issuance of the 100th zero-interest loan through the Mortgage Assistance Program. This means that 100 families have rescued their property and kept their homes through times of struggle. We want families to know that financial guidance and assistance is available to those in need. I want to thank our partners in City government, City Council Speaker Quinn and those at CNYCN, and the Ford Foundation for their commitment to the residents of New York City.”

“Through the Mortgage Assistance Program, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods has provided loans to help stabilize 100 homeowners in foreclosure,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The City Council and Mayor developed CNYCN five years ago to protect homeowners facing foreclosure and in that time, CNYCN has done terrific work offering counseling, legal assistance, and innovative services like the Mortgage Assistance Program to New Yorkers. I want to thank Christie Peale and Herb Sturz at CNYCN and HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua for their hard work and dedication to New York City’s homeowners.”

 

“My mortgage is current and I give praise to the Mortgage Assistance Program, I give praise to the counselor who helped with the application. And today I am on the road of great happiness,” said Keith Cummings, a MAP loan recipient.

MAP provides a valuable tool for housing counselors and legal services providers to resolve their clients’ mortgage-related issues and prevent their homes from going into foreclosure. With scarce resources available to homeowners whose mortgages have become unaffordable, MAP has served as a lifeline to manageable mortgage payments and long-term housing affordability when no other options were available.

Common uses for MAP funding include reinstating an affordable mortgage, bringing homeowners association or condominium association fees current, providing a down payment on a modification that does not qualify for the Making Home Affordable program, and paying off a an unaffordable loan. MAP loans do not accrue interest and there are no monthly payments or fees.

To apply for MAP, homeowners must work with a non-profit housing counselor or legal services provider who will conduct an assessment of the borrower’s financial circumstances to determine eligibility and apply on the homeowner’s behalf at no cost to the homeowner. For more information call 311 or call CNYCN directly at 646-786-0888 and ask about the Mortgage Assistance Program. Visit www.cnycn.org/map to learn more.

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About the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN)

The Center for NYC Neighborhoods (CNYCN) 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. CNYCN’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, CNYCN 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.

About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 147,800 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For regular updates on news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing. For more information, visit our website at www.nyc.gov/hpd

 

Contact:

Alana Massey (CNYCN) 646-786-0890

Juliet Morris (HPD) 212-863-5682

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