New Yorkers still struggling in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis now have a new program to help keep them in their homes.
Elected officials met in Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Jamaica Tuesday to announce that New York City homeowners will be the first to gain access to the nation’s first foreclosure buyback program.
“Now, instead of having to work with a private institution that is trying to make a profit, they will be working with a community organization whose purpose is to help them get their lives back on track and remain in their homes,” Councilman I. Daneek Miller said on Tuesday.
According to the statement, municipalities across the country are now able to purchase mortgages from the federal government to assist people in their efforts to refinance their homes. Beginning in 2015, the City Council invested millions of dollars to buy distressed mortgages.
“The Council’s $2 million Mortgage Buyback Initiative has been essential to the city’s efforts to reverse the trend of private equity investors snatching up underwater mortgages in communities still reeling from the foreclosure crisis,” Councilman Ruben Wills said.
Despite what some officials are calling a strong rebound by the city after the 2008 housing market collapse, certain areas are still in desperate need of assistance. Wills looked to southeast Queens as a prime example. He cited that the area has experienced over 9,000 foreclosures over the last three years.
According to Interim Executive Director for the Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, Inc. Lori A. Miller, the top five hardest hit neighborhoods are South Jamaica, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Springfield Gardens/Laurelton and South Ozone Park. Of the 154 homes in Queens scheduled for foreclosure auctions between July and August, 111 are in southwest Queens.
“It is important as this initiative goes forward that we not forget that families across New York City continue to struggle after the reckless behavior of the big banks destroyed the housing market. Recovery has been uneven and many homeowners in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods of color have been left behind,” said Ismene Speliotis, executive director of the Mutual Housing Association of New York.