Bridge Street Development Corporation (BSDC), which has traditionally focused its programming and services in central Brooklyn with a special emphasis on Bedford Stuyvesant, is expanding its foreclosure prevention counseling to Canarsie. This initiative is made possible by a $75,000 grant from the Citi Foundation.
A historically working-class area with about 200,000 residents, Canarsie has one of the highest concentrations of one- and two-family homes in all of New York City, with 58% of households owning their own homes—the highest homeownership rate in Brooklyn.
But Canarsie’s largely African-American and Caribbean population were targets of predatory lending during the housing boom, given adjustable-rate mortgages they could no longer afford once interest rates jumped from 2% to as high as 13%. Given the large number of subprime loans made to Canarsie residents between 2004 and 2007, it is not surprising that the area now has a high rate of delinquent mortgages. In 2011, nearly 3,000 Canarsie households received pre-foreclosure notices , the highest of any neighborhood in New York City.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of Canarsie homeowners that were already behind on mortgage payments are struggling to find money to cover repairs, lost rental income, and temporary housing. Shortly after the storm hit, most banks granted a temporary suspension of mortgage payments for 90 to 180 days but as the suspensions periods end, it is unlikely that many homeowners will be able to make the large lump payment that will be due. BSDC’s experienced foreclosure counselors will work with distressed homeowners and their banks to negotiate modified loan terms with affordable payments that will allow owners from losing their homes. If you or someone you know needs foreclosure prevention help, please call (718) 636-7596 x211.