N.J. homeowners to receive state supported foreclosure media

Nick Rees Jan. 10, 2009, 3:52pm

Anne Milgram (D)

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) -- Eligible New Jersey homeowners will be able to use a new state-supported mortgage foreclosure mediation program aimed at helping homeowners remain in their homes.

"The mortgage foreclosure crisis in New Jersey exacts a devastating toll on homeowners, their families, their neighborhoods and communities, which is why the State is committed to doing everything it can to provide New Jersey homeowners with the tools to fight back," Attorney General Anne Milgram said. "The mortgage foreclosure mediation program is designed to resolve foreclosure complaints. The difference between calling or not calling our hotline could be the difference between keeping a home or losing a home."

As many as 16,600 homeowners are expected to utilize the program this year. An estimated 60,000 homeowners will face foreclosure this year.

The program, a joint effort of the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General, the Housing Mortgage Finance Agency in the Department of Community Affairs, the Public Advocate, the Department of Banking and Insurance, and Legal Services of New Jersey, gives homeowners access to housing counselors, attorneys and court-trained mediators.

The program is supported by $12.5 million in state funds, $12 million of which will be used to train and pay for housing counselors and lawyers through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The other $500,000 will be used to provide foreclosure mediator services to homeowners.

Eligible homeowners will be provided lawyers to consult with housing counselors in proposing ways to resolve mortgage delinquencies. Homeowners and lenders who are unable to resolve their disputes out-of-court will pear before a neutral court-appointed mediator.

To be eligible for the mediation program, homeowners must not be in bankruptcy, the homeowner's primary residence must be the property facing foreclosure, and the residence must be a one to three-family residence.

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