The Sparta Independent

Governor Signs Anti-Foreclosure Measure

The Sparta Independent — Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed legislation last week that provides $40 million for two programs aimed at keeping financially distressed homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

The bills are part of a package of legislation proposed by Corzine in October to help New Jerseyans through what he called "the single worst economic challenge this country has faced in the last 150 years, except the Depression ... We are proactively putting in place actions on housing stabilization that are unequaled across the country as far as I could see.''

The bill allocates $25 million to a program that will help homeowners refinance first mortgages in imminent danger of foreclosure. Another $15 million will go toward a program that allows those who have been foreclosed upon to remain in their homes as tenants while saving to buy back their homes.

Corzine said the money was redirected from other programs.

"New Jersey's deepening mortgage crisis makes it imperative that we provide direct assistance to ensure families can stay in their homes and out of foreclosure,'' said Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Ewing.

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of the New Jersey Citizen Action advocacy group, applauded the legislation, but said there is much more to be done as the housing crisis is expected to worsen in the months ahead.

She said foreclosures can affect not only families who are forced from their homes, but neighborhoods — which can become blighted — and communities.

The governor acknowledged the amount of money appropriated for the two programs isn't enough to solve the problem. But he hopes that if some federal bailout money was redirected to foreclosure prevention and neighborhood recovery efforts, more people could be helped.

Copyright 2009 Straus Newspapers

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