Call for $30M in State Funding to Continue Foreclosure Prevention Program

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Assemblyman Sean Ryan is one of several legislators looking to make sure that the state continues to fund its Foreclosure Prevention Services Network.

"The very banks that started the zombie crisis, they had to pay big fines that went into a pool of money, and for the first several years, some of that was earmarked directly from the Attorney General's Office to fund these types of services," said Ryan, D-Buffalo.

Ryan says if that funding will continue, it has to come from the state's general fund, and he's calling for $30 million to help 94 non-profits statewide over the next two years.

In Buffalo, state funding represents 1/3 of the Western New York Law Center's Budget and 100 percent of the Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services' budget for Foreclosure Services.

"Just in the last four years, our office has seen more than 400 families in danger of foreclosure, 200 families able to help work with legal service agencies like the WNY Law Center to prevent foreclosure," said Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services Interim Executive Director Edwin Jackson.

In that same time period, the Western New York Law Center has prevented 1,240 foreclosures.

Ryan says in addition to providing help for New Yorkers in need, this program helps all homeowners.

"Once people are no longer in there, we know the situation happens then that we have empty houses, we have the property values that start going down of that house and neighboring houses, uncut grass, we all know the story in Western New York," Ryan said.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, New York lost an estimated $242 billion in home equity wealth due to foreclosures between 2009 and 2012. That's an average decline in value of $37,649 per home.

The Western New York Law Center adds there were 34,000 new foreclosure filings in 2016, double pre-recession levels. They say that underscores the need for more funding.

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