A senior citizen on disability who had twice been a victim of deed theft. A first-generation immigrant in South Brooklyn facing foreclosure on their family-home after falling behind on his mortgage payments. A group of tenants on a rent strike after realizing that their original landlord was a victim of deed theft and they were paying rent money to a scammer.
These are just some of the homeowner stories that our Homeowner Hub encountered in 2022 as they worked to assist homeowners across New York State.
The Homeowner Hub, a dynamic, multimedia, knowledge and referral center, is staffed by a team of homeowner service experts whose knowledge of the needs of New York City homeowners make them effective and compassionate front-line staff. The Hub triages homeowner issues, makes top-quality referrals, and provides case management services — with expertise in handling difficult conversations and a focus on providing a superior homeowner experience. It offers bilingual access for homeowners via webforms and chat functionality.
Our work in the Hub indicates that homeowner challenges shifted in 2022 as the foreclosure moratorium enacted due to COVID-19 came to an end. Most referrals for services were for support for foreclosures and foreclosure prevention, accessing funding for home repairs, and weatherization efficiency assessments to reduce energy costs. The Hub also reported an increase in homeowners who needed immediate financial assistance and support with their mortgage services.
2022 also included an increased focus on the needs of Black homeowners — the Hub was instrumental in spearheading referrals for the onset of the Black Homeownership Project, with a focus on connecting homeowners with homeowner landlord services and estate planning services in Central and South Brooklyn and the North Bronx.
In addition to the Hub’s work with homeowners, the year also included a focus on achieving language justice by developing a language dashboard and expanding document accessibility to include more languages.
In 2023, our Hub team plans to map out their work to notice trends for service needs in specific neighborhoods, work to reach more senior homeowners without Internet access, and connect with homeowners through virtual and in-person community events throughout the year. With the addition of the Homeowner Help Desk in 2023, our Homeowner Hub will continue to build on the successes of 2022, and connect even more homeowners with local services to help them stay in their homes.