FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Laura McKenna LMcKenna@NHSBrooklyn.org
NHS Brooklyn CDC, Inc. 2806 Church Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11226 718-469-4679
Brooklyn Housing Nonprofits to Launch Anti-Displacement Homeowner Help Desk to Rescue Homes, Provide Financial Relief, and Prevent Scams
Brooklyn, New York – May 13, 2021 Brooklyn housing nonprofits Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn CDC, Inc. (NHS Brooklyn), Brooklyn Neighborhood Services (BNS), and Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (Brooklyn A) are collaborating to offer relief to distressed homeowners with an Anti-Displacement Homeowner Help Desk (ADH Help Desk). The new program will assist homeowners in danger of losing their homes and savings to foreclosure, liens, scams, and other catastrophes—a pre-existing problem in Brooklyn that has only been made worse by COVID-19. Services offered will include mortgage counseling, legal assistance, and financial education, including guidance in applying for grants, loans, and other benefits that will help homeowners head off problems before they arise.
The initiative is made possible by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Enterprise Community Partners, with support from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. Elected officials in Brooklyn and community partners will help raise awareness of the program, which will focus on Central Brooklyn, although it will be available to any homeowner in New York City.
Launch / Press Conference for the Anti-Displacement Homeowner Help Desk:
Wednesday, May 19 at 12:30-1:30pm on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube: www.bit.ly/3eFXjkV
Housing nonprofits; city, state, and federal elected officials; the HPD Commissioner; and the Attorney General will participate, followed by a Q&A
Brooklyn nonprofits will offer free webinars to educate struggling homeowners about their options and connect them to counselors. Homeowners who call the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Program Hotline at 1-855-HOME-456 (1-855-466-3456) or visit www.homeownerhelpny.org will be referred to a local, HUD-certified, nonprofit housing-counseling agency.
Scam education will also be a major thrust of the initiative. With the median asking price for Brooklyn properties at an all-time high of $2.55 million (The Real Deal), scammers are working overtime to snatch properties away from unsuspecting, desperate, and often senior homeowners, many of whom have lost household income due to nonpayment of rent or the untimely death of a family member to COVID-19.
“A significant number of homeowners have either lost their job, or their income has been drastically reduced, because of the pandemic, putting them at risk of default on mortgage payments and subject to foreclosure proceedings. Indeed, by the end of 2020, nearly 11 percent of homeowners in New York were delinquent on their mortgages: the highest mortgage default rate since the Great Recession,” reports Tamara Del Carmen, Director of the Consumer and Economic Advocacy Program at Brooklyn A.
“NHS Brooklyn is proud to be a part of the Anti-Displacement Homeowner Help Desk: a collaborative effort to address foreclosure, deed theft, scams, estate issues, tax liens, and other threats to homeowners," said Tonya Ores, Executive Director of NHS Brooklyn, CDC Inc. "These issues disrupt and displace families and wipe away generational wealth. The Help Desk will support our work and that of our partners to provide homeowners with the assistance and resources they need to stay in their homes and preserve our communities."
“We’re excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to continue to address an issue that has impacted our community for quite some time,” said Richard Trouth, Executive Director of Brooklyn Neighborhood Services (BNS). “We continue to see lives disrupted and families lose their most valuable asset. Information is key to addressing the problem, and this initiative will provide homeowners and their tenants with the invaluable resources they need to recognize a scam, avoid it, and stay in their homes.”
“As New Yorkers continue to struggle with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, scammers are exploiting homeowners in Brooklyn through pervasive deed theft scams,” said NYS Attorney General Letitia James. “The Anti-Displacement Homeowner Help Desk program combats deed theft and empowers homeowners by providing financial counseling, legal services, and educational services that are essential in safeguarding families and stabilizing communities. My office remains committed to working with our community partners to help our neighbors protect their homes.”
“In minority communities, one of the only ways to build and transfer wealth is through the accumulation of equity in properties,” said NYC Councilman Robert E. Cornegy (District 36). “As Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, I have seen that legislation is essential to protect homeowners, but that is not enough. We need to pro-actively help those at risk of losing their equity. This is a great step toward giving homeowners the resources they deserve.”
“A help desk focused on the needs of homeowners struggling with mortgage arrears, real estate fraud, estate issues, liens, nonpayment of rent by tenants, and other challenges is extremely necessary right now,” said NYC Councilwoman Darma V. Diaz (District 37). “I applaud this collaborative initiative, because when homeowners are safe and supported, they are better able to provide the best living conditions for tenants and communities.”
“Helping homeowners in communities hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic will be key to a recovery that reaches all New Yorkers. We are thrilled to join our Brooklyn partners to kick off the expanded Homeowner Help Desk, serving as an essential, boots-on-the-ground force, empowering struggling homeowners where they are with resources and education,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll.
Homeowner Outreach Webinar Schedule
Tuesday, May 25, 4:00 pm Mortgage Update: Foreclosure, Forbearance & the Moratorium Webinar Hosted by NHS Brooklyn. Register: www.bit.ly/3tyhYvm
Thursday, June 3, 6:00 pm Scams, Real Estate Fraud & Deed Theft: Avoiding Predatory Tactics
Hosted by NHS Brooklyn. Register: www.bit.ly/3tE7ZVm
Wednesday, June 9, 5:30 pm When a Homeowner Dies: Wills, Trusts & Mortgages Webinar
Hosted by NHS Brooklyn. Register: www.bit.ly/3uQCh8U
Wednesday, June 30, 6:00 pm Scams & Foreclosures: Anti-Displacement Assistance Virtual Town Hall
Hosted by Brooklyn A. Register: www.bit.ly/11210630