BRIDGE STREET CONNECTION
For the past 40 years, Ms. Elizabeth Watson has held on to her property tightly, where each of her children were raised. As she puts it, her oldest son, who is now in the army, was born in this house - a clear reference to the high degree of reverence afforded to this piece of property.
Now 40 years later, Ms. Watson may lose the only piece of property she ever owned: a 2-family brownstone located in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant. For the past 8 years, Ms. Watson has struggled to pay the mortgage on the property “It wasn’t easy, especially when you’re sick and disabled,” said Ms. Watson, who is homebound and can hardly move.
The poor condition of the house has made it extremely difficult for Ms. Watson to rent out the first and second floors. With loose steps, falling ceilings and peeling paint everywhere, the house needs a make-over before anyone would consider renting it. “No one would rent it like this”, she says pointing to a hole directly above her head.
She claimed to have received countless calls from strangers and anonymous companies seeking to help her. “They always call me claiming they’re trying to help me, but they never do.”
Unbeknownst to Ms. Watson, she was being targeted by nearly half a dozens scammers who have either contacted her over the phone or stuffed glossy, eye-catching literature into her mailbox, hoping to lure her into some type of loan that could easily be interpreted as predatory lending. Compounding an already sinister situation, Ms. Watson is currently behind on her water bill payments—an issue that has led the City to place a lien on her property. “I had no idea that a lien had been placed on the house,” responded Watson when informed of the lien by a Bridge Street Development Corporation (BSDC) staffer. “I thought everything was paid off.” Her story is just one of many dozens within Bedford-Stuyvesant, which has been hit hard by the current foreclosure crisis.
According to recent figures, Bedford-Stuyvesant has the second highest foreclosure rate in the city, thus putting at risk hundreds of homeowners who’ve put their life savings into the only investment they have. The figure are not just limited to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Every three months, 250,000 new families enter into foreclosure, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association in the city. The effect of the foreclosure crisis is evident, as one walks through Hancock Street, just a few blocks away from where Ms. Watson lives.
Unsuspecting visitors enjoying a stroll along Hancock or Jefferson Streets are greeted with a steady stream of “For Sale” signs as well as unrelenting sounds from construction work sites already taken over by banks and mortgage companies.
In an effort to combat property loss in Central Brooklyn, Bridge Street Development Corporation has come up with alternative programs to help alleviate the impact of the foreclosure crisis. Each provides, residents with resources and a wealth of information to help navigate the various aspects of the crisis. If you or a family member are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, please call BSDC at (718) 636-7596 ext. 14 for an appointment with our Foreclosure Counselor,
Immediate Steps to take when Facing Foreclosure
Foreclosure is a legal process to terminate your ownership of real estate that is collateral for a debt, based on a mortgage or a deed of trust. Homeowners are facing foreclosure due to many factors such as, the current housing market, the increase in unemployment, over inflated real estate property value and exotic loan products offered by predatory mortgage companies. The impact of foreclosure has been significant, according to the NYU Furman Center of Real Estate. In 2008 Brooklyn had the second highest rate of homes in foreclosure. This accounts for 30% of the total number of homes in the foreclosure process in New York City. In Brooklyn there are approximately 7,816 properties in foreclosure 30% of the total number of homes in the foreclosure process in New York City.
If you find yourself in a position where making your mortgage payment may not be possible for any reason, here are the basic steps you need to take right away: Take Action! Take action and act quickly. If you feel you might fall behind or are already behind on your mortgage payment seek assistance. The sooner you react to a problem, the more options you will have to solve it. Seek Help!
If you are facing foreclosure, your best option is to work with a foreclosure counselor. There are many not-for profit organizations that offer free and confidential one-on-one foreclosure counseling. The first thing a counselor will do to assist you is determine how much time you might have to work out a solution and help you to figure out your options which, might include: modifying your loan, refinancing your mortgage, or selling your home. Create a Plan of Action!—Facing foreclosure can be scary. So before you do anything, sit down and develop a plan of action.
The plan should map out the steps you plan on taking to manage your mortgage payments over the long term. Budget! Revaluate your expenses and start looking at what you need versus what you want. Review your bills to see which ones can be reduced or eliminated.
Once you cut your expenses create a financial worksheet that will detail all your sources of income, expenses and debts that can be documented. Increase your Income!—If possible, look for different ways to increase your income. You can take classes to develop or expand your skill set to better position yourself for a raise. Another way to increase your income is to have a stoop or garage sale of your gently used possessions. BSDC is available to assist you with free one-on-one foreclosure counseling. Please call (718) 636-7596 ext. 14 for an appointment today.
BSDC Launches Webinar to Address the Issue of Foreclosure
Bridge Street Development Corporation (BSDC) understands there are a lot of resources available to the public about obtaining a mortgage but not enough information on how homeowners in trouble with their mortgage can keep their home. BSDC has developed a webinar series (internet presentation) to educate homeowners communities about avoiding foreclosure. The webinars provides a resource via the internet to homeowners might be, or know someone who is facing the difficult situation of foreclosure.
The Webinar Series is an added resource to educate and inform residents to “Know the Steps, Know their Options and Know there is Help!”. The webinars are hosted by Bridge Street Development Corporation’s trained Foreclosure Counselor who will work with homeowners and the banks that hold their mortgage to find the best possible solution with free, confidential one-on- one counseling sessions.
Update on teh Making Home Affordable Modification Program. The Obama Plan
The Making Home Affordable Modification Program is commonly referred to as the “The Obama Plan.” It is part of President Barack Obama’s plan to prevent foreclosures and sustain communities throughout the country. The plan is aggressive with an overall goal of stabilizing the housing market and assisting up to 9 million homeowners by reducing their monthly mortgage payments. Since the inception of the program on February 18, 2009 more than 650,000 modifications have been offered and more than 375,000 trail modifications have been started. Of the banks participating in the program, over 85 percent of the mortgage market is covered. Therefore, your bank should be included in the program.
Although a large number of banks are participating in the program and offer modifications, their overall performance has been less than balanced. In response to their performance, President Obama has called for a conversion drive and has asked the banks to more than double the number of trial modifications to reach a goal of 500,000 modifications by November 1, 2009. They will monitor the borrower’s wait and response time, as well as the accuracy of the information provided to the borrower.
In addition, Freddie Mac has been asked by the administration to review the files of borrowers whose application have been denied as another protection for borrowers. This is a great opportunity for homeowners that have hesitated to apply for a loan modification thorough the HAMP. BSDC is available to assist you with applying for a loan modification through HAMP. For more information or free one-on-one counseling contact Ms. Imelba Rodriquez at 718.636.7596 ext. 14
Our next webinar will take place on:Wednesday, January 7, 2010
“What To Expect When Facing Foreclosure”
Please join us for this FREE educational Webinar from the privacy and comfort of your home or office.
or Call us at 718.636.7596, ext. 14 to register.
Free Personal Finance Course
January 5, 2010 - February 9, 2010
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
456D Nostrand Avenue (entrance on Jefferson Avenue)
To register, please call: (718) 636-7596 ext.15
Free Webinar -What To Expect When Facing Foreclosure
January 7, 2010
7:00 pm-8:30 pm
456D Nostrand Avenue
(entrance on Jefferson Avenue