Key to getting ahead of the foreclosure curve, which is characterized by home loss and an increase in vacant houses, is to apply learnings from the 2008 housing foreclosure crisis and the LISC Zombie grant programs to prepare for the COVID-19 triggered financial crisis. LISC’s New York State Housing Stabilization Fund is already putting some of these lessons into action by coordinating a foreclosure prevention program with local government and nonprofit partners.
This mortgage foreclosure prevention webinar is designed to help local governments, housing counseling and advocacy agencies and nonprofit partners plan for how to best prevent and mitigate the coming mortgage and property tax foreclosure wave as a result of the financial effects of COVID: job loss and small business loss resulting in massive unemployment. Viewers will learn more about how local governments and nonprofits are partnering to mitigate the impact of COVID on homeownership in their state.
Kerri White, Special Assistant for Housing & Community Development, Office of the New York State Attorney General
Mark Ladov, Assistant Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, Office of the New York State Attorney General
Kirsten E. Keefe; Senior Attorney, and Program Director for HOPP Anchor Partner Program, Empire Justice Center
Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Leo Goldberg, Senior Policy and Research Manager, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Wade Beltramo, General Counsel, New York Conference of Mayors
Charlene Thompson, Commissioner, Inc. Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency
Samuel Wells, Neighborhood Stabilization Coordinator, City of Albany
Callie Seltzer, Director, LISC National Housing
George Ashton, Managing Director, LISC Strategic Investments
Homeowners do not have to leave their homes unless a judge orders them to do so; it is so important for nonprofits, municipalities and all housing partners to share this message widely in their communities so it reaches as many at-risk homeowners as possible. (New York is a judicial foreclosure state.)
Municipalities are in a tough bind; they want to protect their residents from losing their homes while simultaneously dealing with major revenue shortfalls. The key is balancing the short term need for property tax collection with the long term need to keep people safely housed and avoid creating vacants that wreak havoc on local governments and economies.
Municipalities are using their federal and other resources for mortgage payment assistance and rental payment assistance programs and in other ways to assist at-risk homeowners and renters. Figuring out which of these resources are best for these short term crises and which are best for affordable housing needs long term is important for using them most effectively.
In New York, the Attorney General’s Office is available to investigate individual mortgage complaints and to help municipalities stop mortgagee and servicer bad practices.
The Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) is a network of housing counseling and legal services offices across New York State, and is available to assist at-risk homeowners behind on their mortgages. There are counselors available to assist homeowners now, before the forbearance period ends and the courts reopen, which enables them to prepare before foreclosure actions are brought.
This paper, by LISC's director of the NY State Housing Stabilization Fund, Helene Caloir, provides suggested next steps in the continued effort to address zombie and empty residential properties in New York State.
On October 23-24, 2019, LISC, Cornell University’s Community and Regional Development Institute, and Cornell’s Rust2Green and Engaged Cornell programs will host a gathering to discuss remediating, repurposing and preventing vacant housing.