for poor administration of New Jersey Homekeeper Program, calls for reforms
Trenton, NJ – On Wednesday during a special joint committee hearing held by the Assembly Housing and Financial Institutions Committees, Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of NJ Citizen Action, New Jersey’s largest homeowners loan counseling agency, criticized Governor Christie for failing to help struggling homeowners and called on the State to implement better foreclosure mitigation services.
“New Jersey has put in place a great program to help people facing foreclosure, but the program has been run poorly and too few have been helped,” said Salowe-Kaye. “New Jersey has more foreclosures than 48 other states yet we are dead last in getting foreclosure relief money to the people who need it.”
New Jersey received $300 million in federal money to help support the Homekeeper program, a relief program meant to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes. To date the state has only spent $30 million, a number that Salowe-Kaye called “nothing to brag about.”
“We must fix the Homekeeper program and look to new solutions for the foreclosure crisis,” added Salowe-Kaye. “We urge the Legislature and the Governor to establish a complete menu of options to help hard-working New Jerseyans stay in their homes, including expanded funding for counseling and principal reductions – which would require banks to renegotiate mortgages for underwater homeowners at current market values, assuming the homeowners were able to pay.”