FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2016
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Rebecca Cheng, Sam Marksheid, and Vicki DiStefano | (516) 869-7794
Town awarded $159K from AG’s Office for a Zombie Home Prevention Initiative
Town will reach out to at-risk homeowners to educate them on how to avoid foreclosure
North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board are pleased to announce that the Town has been awarded a $159,000 grant from the Office of the New York State Attorney General to address the growing statewide problem of so-called “zombie homes” – vacant and abandoned homes that are not maintained during a prolonged foreclosure proceeding.
The Town intends to use the funding to launch an educational campaign to alert Town residents about the Homeowner Protection Program and the Mortgage Assistant Program that are currently available to help New York State homeowners facing difficulties with their mortgage payments. The Town will be focusing on public outreach by sending informational written material to residential houses, and producing public service announcements to reach out to at-risk homeowners and make them aware of the resources available to aide them.
“Zombie properties have a debilitating impact on our communities,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “It is our hope that by reaching out early to help some of these homeowners who may be facing difficulties in paying their mortgages, it will have a positive impact for them personally and for the community as well. This grant will enable us to undertake a substantial educational initiative to reach these families before the bank knocks on their door.”
Among the Town of North Hempstead’s 85,737 residential homes, 179 homes are “zombie” or vacant properties. The Town plans to undertake foreclosure-prevention efforts Town-wide.
The Town’s initiative will include:
1. Establishing a Town of North Hempstead Zombie Properties Task Force: This task force would include key stakeholders, including municipal agencies, local non-profits, faith-based groups, neighborhoods residents and others to collaborate on foreclosure prevention activates. Activities would include outreach campaign, identifying problem properties, developing strategies to address them and using resources to force the remediation and/or repurposing of the properties.
2. Conducting targeted outreach on existing homeowner retention resources: The Town will conduct outreach to local homeowners to promote use of local, regional, and state and national homeowner retention and zombie property prevention programs. Outreach will include mailings; targeted outreach, a dedicated webpage and a public service announcements.
3. The creation of a local zombie and/or vacant properties database: This database will cross-reference with the New York State new vacant property registry. The data will be provided to the task force in the form of a list and map to help target planned interventions.
According to the State AG’s office, funding for the State-wide initiative is drawn from the $3.2 billion settlement agreement with Morgan Stanley that Schneiderman, as co-chair of the federal-state working group on residential-mortgage-based securities, negotiated in February. That settlement generated $550 million in cash and consumer relief for New Yorkers.
For more information:
Call 1-855-HOME-456 or visit www.nysmap.org
Call the Town’s 311 Call Center