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New York Commits $60M for Housing Counseling, Legal Services

At a ""Long Island Housing Partnership"":http://www.lihp.org/ event Monday, New York Attorney General ""Eric Schneiderman"":http://www.ag.ny.gov/ announced the launch of the Homeowner Protection Program, a commitment of $60 million over three years to fund housing counseling and legal services for the state's homeowners.


The announcement coincides with the release of the Request for Applications (RFA) for the attorney general's program for service providers to begin the process of helping homeowners. Schneiderman was joined by HUD Secretary ""Shaun Donovan"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/hud_secretary, as well as representatives from partner agencies.

The funds provided through the RFA process represent a portion of the millions of dollars New York received from the recent national mortgage servicing settlement over foreclosure abuses from the give largest mortgage servicing banks. Donovan praised Schneiderman's initiatives for use of those settlement funds.

""Since the settlement was announced, I have met with state attorneys general across the country to urge them to use these settlement dollars to help homeowners,"" said Donovan. ""Not only has Attorney General Schneiderman joined many of his colleagues in making that commitment, he is moving to get these dollars out to housing counseling and legal services groups so that homeowners can benefit directly. The leadership that Attorney General Schneiderman showed in helping to get this historic settlement completed is why homeowners like Sabrina Lacy can now sleep easier at night.""

Lacy, a homeowner who received help avoiding foreclosure from the Long Island Housing Partnership, also spoke highly of Schneiderman's efforts.

""Without the national mortgage settlement and the help of the Long Island Housing Partnership to negotiate a loan modification, I would have lost my home,"" Lacy said. ""Thanks to Attorney General Schneiderman, thousands more families will have a chance to get the kind of help that I got.""

The Office of the Attorney General has retained the ""Center for New York City Neighborhoods"":http://www.cnycn.org/ (CNYCN) and the ""Empire Justice Center"":http://www.empirejustice.org/ (EJC) to act as ""Anchor Partners"" for the funding program. The organizations will assist with administration and management of grants, with CNYCN covering New York City and EJC overseeing the rest of the state.

""Attorney General Schneiderman has worked tirelessly to ensure that the funding secured through this national mortgage settlement is used in the true spirit for which it is intended-to help fight the epidemic of foreclosures across the country and to do so by funding on-the-ground services for homeowners at risk of losing their homes,"" said EJC president Anne Erickson. ""We at the Empire Justice Center are incredibly proud to be an anchor partner with the New York Attorney General's Office to ensure that these funds are used in the most efficient and effective manner to protect the legal rights of homeowners and help them obtain mortgage modifications wherever possible.""

New York offers legal services through the state's Foreclosure Prevention Services Program, but funding for the program was set to expire April 1, 2012. The allocation of funds from the national mortgage settlement will keep the program running for at least three more years.

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.

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