ALBANY - Help is on the way in the Albany area for those struggling to avoid foreclosure - Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is offering help throughout the day Friday to homeowners trying to save their homes.
Foreclosure prevention specialists from the Department of Financial Services will be on hand from 10 a.m. Friday morning until 6 p.m. at the Albany Community Development Agency, located at 200 Henry Johnson Blvd.
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."
Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to launch the foreclosure prevention program in January as a means of extending help to homeowners in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure.
State Resources Available to Homeowners
The state's foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS foreclosure specialists who assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process.
Depending on individuals' specific situations, the specialists may offer homeowners assistance in such areas as:
•Applying for mortgage modifications or providing help to homeowners who have already sought mortgage modifications.
•Interceding on behalf of homeowners with their mortgage lenders or servicers.
•Assisting homeowners in communicating with mortgage lenders or servicers.
•Accepting complaints from homeowners who believe they were victimized by mortgage lending abuses, so complaints can be investigated by the Department.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselors will also be available to offer assistance to homeowners.
Homeowners unable to meet personally with foreclosure prevention specialists 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, www.dfs.ny.gov.
The Department urged homeowners to be wary of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, the Department said homeowners should:
•Be wary of anyone asking for an upfront fee in exchange for getting a loan modification, saving a home from default or stopping a foreclosure or tax sale. New York law prohibits the collection of such fees in most cases. Also, many not-for-profit housing counselors will help homeowners negotiate with lenders for free.
•Be wary of anyone who says they can save a home if a homeowner signs or transfers the deed to his or her house over to them so the homeowner can catch up on mortgage payments or refinance a loan. A homeowner should never submit mortgage payments to anyone other than the homeowner's mortgage company without its approval.