FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES WHAT THE CITY IS DOING TO PREVENT FORECLOSURES AND KEEP NEW YORKERS IN THEIR HOMES IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 14, 2008
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Unfortunately, the number of New Yorkers facing home foreclosures - while thankfully not nearly as great as in some other parts of the nation - is on the rise. At times like these, City government has a special duty to help New Yorkers in need - and last week, we stepped up our efforts to prevent foreclosures and keep people in their homes.
"Through the non-profit Center for New York City Neighborhoods, an organization we've set up with the City Council, we're supporting community housing organizations that give hard-pressed homeowners in all five boroughs the information, counseling, and legal help they need. The Center is giving these neighborhood groups $2.3 million in grants for work designed to head off foreclosures in the year ahead. Using new funds from the State, the Center will also improve the response New Yorkers get when they call the one and only number they need for information about preventing foreclosures: 311.
"We're also stepping up efforts to stabilize areas already hit by foreclosures. Left vacant, foreclosed properties can become derelict eyesores that hurt the value and security of every other home on the block. Many New Yorkers remember all too well that's just what happened when some of our communities were struck by housing abandonment a generation ago. We're not going to let that happen again. Instead, we'll soon be using $24 million in new Federal funds to buy and rehabilitate recently foreclosed houses, and then resell them at affordable prices to qualifying low- and middle-income households. We've got a great track record when it comes to finding good buyers for such homes; of the roughly 17,000 owner-occupied homes that our Department of Housing Preservation and Development has created in recent years, only five have resulted in foreclosures.
"Those owner-occupied homes are part of The New Housing Marketplace - our Administration's affordable housing initiative, and the most ambitious such effort ever made by an American city. Our ten-year goal is to fund development and preservation of 165,000 homes - enough to house the entire population of Atlanta. Three months ago, right on schedule, we hit the halfway mark. Now, with the economy stalling and even the most qualified developers having a hard time getting credit, we know we can't keep that pace up. So we're stretching out our schedule for completing the second half of our housing program to six years instead of the five years we'd planned for at first. But we also recognize that creating affordable housing is key to our economic recovery and future prosperity - and we're more committed than ever to seeing that our affordable housing plan reaches its full goal.
"Before signing off this morning, I also want to say something to everyone who may be struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times. Sound financial information can keep the problems you might be having with rising expenses, dwindling savings, or mounting debts from getting worse. Starting tomorrow morning, you can go to the City's web site at nyc.gov or call 311 to find out what City government, in partnership with some public-spirited private citizens, will be doing in the week ahead to provide that information free of charge. It's one more way we're giving New Yorkers extra help at a time when they really need it.
"This is Mayor Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958