FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES THE CITY'S NEWEST PARTNERSHIPS TO HELP NEW YORKERS FACING FORECLOSURE 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, June 14, 2009
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"As the national economy has stalled, we've worked hard to prevent home foreclosures in New York. Fortunately, we haven't been hit as hard as other cities have been. Still, some 13,000 homeowners have faced foreclosures during the past 12 months - and the numbers are climbing. So last week, we took some new steps designed to help distressed homeowners work their way out of debt while keeping their homes.
"First, we're launching a new public service ad campaign in communities where the risk of foreclosure is greatest. In English and Spanish, the ads ask: 'Facing Foreclosure? We Can Help,' and urge people to call 311 to get connected to free financial counseling and legal services. We're doing that because many homeowners threatened with losing their homes are too depressed or frightened to know what to do or where to turn. And that makes them easy targets for predators all too willing to profit from their misery under the guise of offering help.
"Fortunately, they've got better choices, provided by local Legal Services offices, the civil division of the Legal Aid Society, and grassroots anti-foreclosure groups. The non-profit Center for New York City Neighborhoods, which our Administration and the City Council created when the foreclosure crisis began to emerge, has funded such groups with $6 million in grants. We'll provide $2 million more in the year to come. And a call to 311 will link anyone needing such services with free, confidential, and completely trustworthy help.
"We're also pushing for more effective negotiations between lenders and homeowners before foreclosures happen. Current State law requiring such mediation covers too few homeowners, who often treat the confusing notices offering them mediation as junk mail. And sometimes the people the lenders send to mediation meetings aren't even authorized to modify the home loans. In Philadelphia, the Mayor's Office and courts are addressing such problems and involving community groups like ACORN who help homeowners with the process. The result? Better mediation and fewer foreclosures - results we want to see in New York, too.
"The fact is that when foreclosures hit a neighborhood, the pain doesn't stop with the families losing their homes. Vacant foreclosed homes become derelict eyesores that bring down the value and threaten the security of every house on the block. Lenders also take a financial beating from foreclosures. So, everyone wins when we keep our neighborhoods strong - a basic principle of our Administration's Five-Borough Economic Opportunity Plan for pulling our city through the national recession.
"Creating jobs is also key to beating the recession - and the jobs of the future require more education. So before signing off this morning, I want to spotlight the success of a program called CUNY ASAP that we created to help community college students finish their studies while also meeting their family and job responsibilities - no small accomplishment. The first wave of these students is graduating this month. I congratulated more than 80 of them at Kingsborough Community College's graduation on Friday. And, we're going to expand such programs that help our community college students learn more, and earn more, in the years ahead.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958