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New York AG Highlights Success of Home Retention Programs

avoid-foreclosureNew York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday highlighted the success of three programs the New York Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has created in the last five years to combat the effects of the housing crisis, according to an announcement from the New York OAG office.

Schneiderman said the three programs his office has created, the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (NYS MAP), and AGScamHelp.com, have benefited tens of thousands of homeowners in New York State by helping them avoid foreclosure and keeping them in their homes.

"When I took office in 2011, I made a commitment to rebuild and revitalize New York communities devastated by the foreclosure crisis," Schneiderman said. "Thanks to the success of the Homeowner Protection Program, Mortgage Assistance Program, and AGScamHelp.com, my office has been able to help 43,000 families—including hundreds in the North Country—stay in their homes. I will continue to fight for justice for the victims of the housing crisis."

HOPP, a network of about 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies aimed at providing free high-quality assistance to distressed homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Since HOPP's launch in June 2012, it has supported more than 43,000 homeowners in New York. The program is supported by $100 million out of the multi-billion dollar settlements Schneiderman helped negotiate out of incidents stemming from the financial crisis.

NYS MAP was launched in September 2014 to help provide families who are at immediate risk of losing their homes to foreclosure with small loans to help pay off debts that prevent them from qualifying for mortgage modifications. The program, which is also funded by money from settlements, offers loans of up to $40,000 to help borrowers pay mortgage arrears, second or third liens that are delinquent, or unpaid property tax bills. In less than a year, the program has approved 212 loans totaling $6 million, with an average loan size of $24,555, according to Schneiderman's office.

The OAG is working with two agencies, Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN) and Empire Justice Center, to assist in the operations of NYS MAP. The program is modeled after a New York City-funded pilot program administered through CNYCN, according to Schneiderman's office.

AGScamHelp.com is a Web-based app launched in December 2014 in direct response to the growing number of mortgage rescue scams both in New York and nationwide. The app, which is also funded by money from settlements, is aimed at helping borrowers seeking assistance avoid foreclosure scams by helping those homeowners determine if a mortgage assistance company has been vetted by a government agency. The OAG encourages borrowers facing foreclosure to work only with free, qualified housing counseling agencies within HOPP. More than 42,000 homeowners have been conned out of $100 million nationwide, according to a December 2014 report from the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

"I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his ongoing commitment to rebuilding rural communities like the North Country," New York State Senator Betty Little said. "We’re still reeling from the financial crash that started nearly a decade ago. The mortgage assistance programs created by Attorney General Schneiderman are a much-needed safety net for North Country families at risk of losing their homes."

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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