HUD Deputy Secretary Joins Capital Region Mayors In Housing Roundtable

Sep 24, 2012

An Obama administration official was in upstate New York to join the mayors of three Albany-area cities at a roundtable discussion on helping distressed homeowners. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

Statistics show home sales gingerly improving nationwide - but government leaders believe too many families in upstate New York and across the country are unable to take advantage of interest rates that are at their lowest levels since the 30-year mortgage was created. They want change.

The Mayors of Albany, Schenectady and Troy met at the College of St. Rose with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones, along with local housing advocates and counselors, lenders and real estate brokers for a round-table discussion about efforts to prevent home foreclosures...

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings acknowedged that the regional housing crisis extending from the Capital Region down through the Lower Hudson Valley has taken too long to be addressed. Deputy Secretary Jones notes that sales are on a slight uptick but concedes "no one is satisfied" --- Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy sees the "rebuild component" as key to rehabilitating distressed housing. Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia agrees that rehab programs seem the most effective solution to housing blight.

There are additional developments intended to give the housing market a boost:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced the grantees of the Homeowner Protection Program, his office’s commitment of $60 million over three years to fund housing counseling and legal services for struggling New York homeowners.  35 legal services organizations and 59 housing counseling agencies statewide will receive over $16.1 million to provide free foreclosure prevention services. An additional $3.9 million has been allocated for training, technical assistance, and other support services to assist homeowners in foreclosure...

“The rise in foreclosures in New York State is troubling, but this isn’t just a matter of numbers: each foreclosure represents a devastating loss for a family and a community. This program puts homeowners first, and these organizations will help get our neighborhoods back on track,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Funding housing counseling and legal services is an essential first step to help more families stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. As we continue to investigate the mortgage crisis that has hurt communities in every corner of this state, we must ensure that homeowners get the expert guidance and legal representation they need to protect their rights before it's too late.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help Albany County area homeowners struggling to save their homes from foreclosure by joining forces with HomeSave, a 12-member coalition of non-profit legal, housing, and community groups.

Department representatives and members of the HomeSave will be available to meet homeowners from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28 in the Department’s Mobile Command Center (MCC), which will be located at Colonie Town Hall, 534 Loudon Rd., Latham.

Governor Cuomo said "It is essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners. The objective is to provide direct help to homeowners and get the word out to others that it’s important to ask for help as quickly as possible. The longer a homeowner waits, the harder it may be to save a home."

HUD Deputy Secretary Jones would like to see more home-buyers and homeowners avail themsleves of HUD services: HUD approved housing counselors will also be available in Colonie to offer assistance to homeowners.

Homeowners unable to meet personally with DFS representatives are urged to the call the Department’s toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-269-0990 or 518-457-1654, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website,