Some big-ticket items are on the table as the New York State legislature winds toward the April 1 budget deadline, like marijuana legalization, bail reform adjustment and bracing for the fiscal impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Then there’s the Homeowner Protection Program, or HOPP, a $20 million program that funds 87 non-profit housing counseling and legal services programs around the state that work to prevent foreclosures. Backers say the program averts foreclosure in 25 percent to 30 percent of cases. Even when it can’t prevent the loss of a home, they say, it informs homeowners about how the process works, shows them how to avoid scams and helps them find new housing.
The program was funded for a few years by the office of the Attorney General out of settlement money, and last year a budget deal prevented its cancellation. But supporters say it looks like it could be left out of this year’s spending plan.
Foreclosures had generally been trending down across the state, but that could change amid the economic devastation of the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Cuomo suspended mortgage payments for 90 days, and everyone from Freddie Mac to HUD has taken steps to protect homeowners in the short term, but the impact of the crisis could be anything but temporary. There have been dire warnings about the impact of a sharp increase in unemployment on mortgage delinquency.
Courtesy of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods and Empire Justice Center, here is a rundown of where HOPP has helped since 2012:
|County||Clients served||Modifications achieved|