NorthJersey.com

$69.2 Million Headed To N.J. To Help Distressed Homeowners

The Record (NorthJersey.com) — February 24, 2016

By KATHLEEN LYNN
Staff Writer
The Record

More federal aid is on the way for New Jersey homeowners who struggle to make their mortgage payments. Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker said Wednesday that $69.2 million has been awarded to the state from the U.S. Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

While the worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed nationwide, New Jersey continues to face some of the nation's highest levels of housing distress because foreclosures were delayed in the state while the mortgage industry answered allegations of wrongdoing. Now, the industry is dealing with a backlog of troubled properties.

The Hardest Hit Fund was created in 2010 to provide $7.6 billion in aid to 18 states, including New Jersey, that suffered the most in the housing crash and economic downturn. New Jersey already has received about $300 million in aid, most of which has been used by the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to help about 6,000 homeowners in danger of losing their homes because of job losses.

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of NJ Citizen Action, the state's largest housing counselor, said that the new federal grants will help. But, she added, since New Jersey's foreclosure situation is still worse than most states, "we should have gotten more."

The $69 million is from a $1 billion round of funding. New Jersey also is eligible to apply for an additional $150 million this winter. As of late last year, $4.5 billion of the original $7.6 billion allocated nationwide to the Hardest Hit Fund had been used.

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