Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Legislator Monica Martinez and housing counseling organizations to unveil Suffolk County’s new Foreclosure Prevention Hotline --- 631-853-HOME.
“This foreclosure hotline will provide the comprehensive assistance needed by individuals and families who are facing foreclosure,” said County Executive Bellone. A 2014 HUD study found homeowners who receive housing counseling were nearly 3 times more likely to receive a loan modification, and 70% less likely to re-default on a modified loan. We wanted to devise a method where we could easily connect homeowners grappling with foreclosure to the services they need because we know it will help.”
The foreclosure hotline was created, in partnership with the Empire Justice Center and non-profit housing and legal counseling agencies, to offer a centralized number where Suffolk residents who are in need of foreclosure counseling and assistance will have the opportunity to be referred to resources that will assist with their particular issue. All services offered are free of charge.
“Losing your house is a traumatic event, but this foreclosure hotline is a way we can help distressed homeowners prevent that circumstance from manifesting,” said Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. “Keeping families stable and in their homes helps not only the residents of the home but also our communities at large. By providing free access to counseling professionals, this hotline will help vulnerable residents facing foreclosure navigate what can be an intimidating process and take control of their situation.”
“As representative of the 9th Legislative District, which has the highest rate of home foreclosures in the state, and Brentwood, Central Islip
and North Bay Shore being three of the highest foreclosure rates in the County; the Foreclosure Prevention Hotline will provide some much-needed assistance to local families. It will connect residents with FREE resources and services that will prevent foreclosure and mitigate the effects of foreclosure proceedings,” said Legislator Monica Martinez.
In December, the County held a Foreclosure Prevention Open House to bring together homeowners in need of services and non-profit housing agencies and legal service providers who are dedicated to assisting homeowners. Even though we are nearly a decade into the foreclosure crisis, there is still a startling number of people in need who are not aware of the many incredible and vitally important services available to them. The open house alone assisted more than a dozen homeowners in modifying their loans or giving them access to free legal services to help them through the foreclosure process.
Suffolk County wanted to replicate the success of the open house and ensure that residents in need of assistance would have access to qualified housing counseling professionals on a daily basis. Hence, the Foreclosure Prevention Hotline was created. Suffolk County has a robust database of referral contacts and foreclosure prevention hotline operators will assess each circumstance and connect caller with appropriate organization that can address their needs.
Collaborating organizations and agencies who will assist residents include:
· Community Development Corporation of Long Island
· Debt Counseling Corporation
· Long Island Housing Partnership
· Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk
· Long Island Fair Housing Services
· La Fuerza Unida
· Safeguard Credit
· Central Islip Civic Council
· American Debt Resources
· Nassau/Suffolk Law Services
· Touro Law Center
· New York Legal Assistance Group
“Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and his team are to be commended for dedicating resources to foreclosure prevention including creating and staffing this Foreclosure Prevention Hotline In Suffolk County. The hotline will be helpful in connecting distressed homeowners with the free housing counseling and legal services currently provided through the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) throughout the County and we hope to be continued with state funding after HOPP ends in September.”
“I cannot stress how vitally important it is for homeowners who have fallen onto hard times to connect with the trained professionals who can provide them the counseling and financial advice they need to get back on the right track,” said Bellone.