Hudson Valley homeowners facing foreclosure benefit from state program
A 3-month-old state mortgage counseling program already has helped 731 Hudson Valley homeowners at risk of foreclosure, officials said Wednesday.
The $60 million Homeowner Protection Program has provided housing counseling and legal services to about 3,600 homeowners statewide during that time, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said at a Poughkeepsie news conference to trumpet the program's successes.
Schneiderman also announced the launch of a hotline for those in need of mortgage counseling. Homeowners calling 855-HOME-456 will be connected with a program counselor or legal service provider within 24 hours, according to the attorney general.
"The rise in foreclosures across the Hudson Valley is troubling, but this isn't just a matter of numbers: Each foreclosure represents a devastating loss for families and communities," Schneiderman said. "This program is putting homeowners first, and it is getting our neighborhoods back on track."
The news conference took place at the headquarters of Hudson River Housing, a nonprofit organization that focuses on affordable-housing issues. It is among 10 organizations receiving a total of $1.7 million from the program.
According to the most recent data by the New York Federal Reserve, more than 13,500 homeowners in the Hudson Valley were in foreclosure and 11,000 more were delinquent on their mortgage payments, Schneiderman said.
Counselors with the program offer at-risk homeowners services such as direct advocacy with lenders, financial counseling and help in preparing loan modification applications, Schneiderman said. Of the 731 Hudson Valley borrowers who have been counseled through the program, 228 -- or 31 percent -- are already in active negotiations with lenders or have been formally offered loan modifications, a figure the attorney general called "impressive."
The attorney general's office defines the Hudson Valley region as Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Columbia counties, according to a spokeswoman at his office.
Statewide, 42 percent -- or 1,500 homeowners out of 3,600 -- have pending or approved loan modifications because of the program, Schneiderman said.
Money for the program come from a February 2012 national settlement with five mortgage banks over foreclosure abuses, Schneiderman said.