We built the strongest network of housing professionals in the nation devoted to stabilizing communities and to building new homeownership opportunities for working families.

 
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The Challenge

New York’s housing affordability crisis is putting working families, seniors, and their communities at risk. We need a holistic approach to community stabilization and housing preservation, which are key social determinants of health.

Communities First would leverage New York State’s existing network of housing counselors and legal services providers to revitalize neighborhoods and keep New Yorkers from homelessness, crushing debt, and displacement.

 

“They were able to help me get the loan to pay off the reverse mortgage so I could keep my home.”

— Dorothy Simmons, Western N.Y.

 
 

Key federal programs to assist homeowners have ended and financial regulations are being threatened. Meanwhile, the challenges persist. In 2017, there were 20,000 new foreclosure cases filed and this year the number of 90-Day Pre-Foreclosure Notices are projected to be higher than the year before. Reverse mortgage foreclosures are on the rise, foreclosure rescue scams targeting seniors and communities of color proliferate, and the stability of immigrant homeowners is being threatened, exacerbating New York’s affordable housing crisis and stripping neighborhoods of wealth.

A statewide coalition of 167 advocacy organizations, businesses and labor unions, is requesting the Governor include $20 million in funding for vital housing counseling and legal services programs that will otherwise be forced to shut down -- a loss for New York families that will cut a safety net of free, trusted services and eliminate hundreds of nonprofit jobs.

Learn How We’ll Rejuvenate Neighborhoods & Affordable Housing →

Learn How We’ll Preserve Homeownership & Prevent Homelessness →

 
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Our Impact

The network has already helped over 100,000 New York homeowners – primarily working and middle-income families and New Yorkers of color – avoid being displaced because of foreclosure, scams or mortgage distress.

 

+100K

families helped so far

+18K

helped each year

89

nonprofit members

 
 

New York has consistently set the national standard for community stabilization and foreclosure prevention. Innovative and well-funded programs helped bring New York through the worst of the foreclosure crisis by providing homeowners with legal protections and access to a network of high-quality housing counselors and legal service providers, and by giving municipalities tools to address distressed mortgages and zombie properties.

As a result, tens of thousands of New York families averted displacement and preserved affordable housing for themselves and their tenants. By doing so, New York strengthened neighborhoods and municipalities by bolstering property values and tax revenue, and by reducing blight.

 

What Happens After 3/31/2019?

Nearly two-thirds of New York State’s foreclosure prevention program capacity will disappear overnight.

An estimated 18,000 New York households won’t receive help next year, according to a November 2018 survey.

11 counties in Central New York will be stripped of full-time equivalent staff advocating for homeowners at risk of foreclosure.