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Ozone Park Civic informs about mortgage crisis – QNS.com

Ozone Park Civic informs about mortgage crisis

The Ozone Park Civic Association addressed several issues during its monthly meeting held on Tuesday, May 20th. Guest speakers from Countrywide, Scott Horowitz and John Viccio, also gave presentations regarding various financial matters.
Association President Howie Kamph introduced Viccio, a reverse mortgage loan consultant. Viccio explained that reverse mortgages are a way to turn equity into cash for several reasons. Most people, he said, use them for medical purposes, everyday living expenses, to pay off their mortgage, help a family member and for long-term care insurance.
Viccio said that reverse mortgage loans are for seniors over 62 years of age who own their own home.
“The cost of living for seniors is going through the roof,” he said. “Put it this way, right now, there’s nothing else out there for the seniors. They cannot go to the bank because they won’t get any money [since] they have no income.”
To prevent them from getting behind on their payments, Viccio said, a reverse mortgage can be one of the best options out there for an individual with limited income.
Horowitz, a home loan manager who has been working in the area for about 10 years, talked about the mortgage meltdown and how it occurred. He explained a timeline, which began a few years ago with soaring real estate prices. This led to mortgage banks reducing their criteria, consumers realizing that they cannot afford the new home and eventually foreclosure.
“It’s easier just to walk away than to have to deal with the expense of owning the property and not being able to make the payments,” he said.
However, residents still showed concern about interest rate payments and fees. Kamph questioned the speakers about whose fault it is for all the mortgage mess.
Horowitz responded, “As far as fault goes, there are faults at a lot of different ends. But a lot of the fault is the banks. They definitely reduced their criteria way too much.”
Kamph agreed that currently “the buyer has bargaining power.”
The meeting moved forward when a board member announced that Councilmember Joseph Addabbo contacted the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation last month about creating a “Greenstreet.” The Greenstreet will replace a present construction site, which is scheduled to take place in either Fall 2008 or in Spring 2009.
Another Greenstreet is planned for between Albert Road and North Conduit Avenue at Cohancy Street.
Other issues announced were the conversion of 96th Place, between Linden Boulevard and Pitkin Avenue, to a one-way street.

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