ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — For homeowners unable to keep up with their mortgages, property taxes, or even user fees, the day of reckoning is at hand, with New York’s foreclosure moratorium expiring next month. If they don’t take action, their piece of the American Dream could turn into a nightmare.

As of January 15, the moratorium will be over, and banks will be free to takeover delinquent mortgages. That leaves homeowners and their families facing the real possibility of losing their home, likely their biggest asset.

New York was the first state in America to get the green light for its Homeowner Assistance Fund, earmarking over a half-billion dollars to help homeowners stay in their homes meaningful aid. “The money was available and New York State is the first in the nation to be approved for this,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “These are for people who are homeowners who are in a forbearance plan, who fell behind on their mortgages.”

“Those who were not offered forbearance, they were just told that they are losing their home,” she said, adding that the Homeowner Assistance Program covers mortgages and property tax arrears.

“Homeowners in manufactured homes can use this money for lot rent or their retail installment contracts if they are behind on those payments,” said Amy Gathings, an attorney for the Western New York Law Center. “Homeowners who have condo fees or homeowner association fees that can lead to foreclosure can also use this money.”

Gathings said that census figures show, mortgage delinquencies are rising at a very high level. That’s why the law center is offering to help homeowners in these times of trouble. “This program, the timing is really important so that homeowners can seek help as soon as possible and trying to avoid and having a foreclosure filed,” she said.

Homeowners can qualify for as much $50,000 for keeping their homes, but the program is income-based, and household income cannot exceed $79,900.

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