Assemblywoman Clark: Foreclosure Prevention Services Restored in Budget
Prevention services funded to curtail foreclosure crisis
April 2, 2012
Queens Village, NY — The legislature partnering with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, successfully restored funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in the FY 2012-13 adopted budget. Up to $9 million of the funds used to support the extension of services will come from the $132 million secured by the Attorney General in the recent mortgage servicing settlement. Funding for the program was to have expired on April 1st, leaving programs across the state at risk of having to shut their doors to the thousands of New York homeowners currently facing or at serious risk of foreclosure. Assemblywoman Barbara Clark said, "This funding is truly a lifesaver. The services provided by the organizations funded in my region such as Neighborhood Housing Services of Northern Queens, Queens Legal Services Foreclosure Prevention Project and Neighborhood Housing Service of Jamaica – have served hundreds of families in avoiding foreclosure – an immense positive economic impact for my district and for the state as a whole. At the statewide level, the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program is a vital, cost-effective program, which, to date, has saved more than 14,000 of New Yorkers’ homes from foreclosure and which has saved the State an estimated $3.4 billion in costs and lost tax revenues associated with foreclosures averted" Nearly 350,000 homeowners of owner-occupied 1-4 family homes are in foreclosure or serious delinquency in New York State. This foreclosure crisis continues to have devastating effects on communities across the state – abandoned homes and neighborhood blight create magnets for crime and severely depress nearby home values – affecting not just the homeowners and their tenants whose homes are lost to foreclosure, but communities as a whole, as local tax bases are degraded and municipalities are left with reduced revenues available to keep local government functioning. The services provided by the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program are essential to preserving New York's economic security and recovery. Over the last few years, New York has invested approximately $50 million in housing counseling and legal services across the State to provide direct assistance to homeowners in default and foreclosure. With a modest investment, to date over 80,000 homeowners have been assisted and at least 14,000 homes have been saved from foreclosure. This translates to over $3.4 billion in property value and tax base preserved, and a return of $68 for every $1 invested in the program - a dramatic savings in a time of austerity budgets.