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NJ Makes Changes In Foreclosure Prevention Program

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 24, 2012

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New Jersey Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable (photo by Phil Gregory)

The Christie administration says it’s made some changes that should make it easier for homeowners facing foreclosure to get federal aid.

The New Jersey HomeKeeper program provides zero-interest loans for homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments because of unemployment or underemployment.

Newark resident Grace Alexander told an Assembly committee her application was denied because the amount of her debt increased while she was waiting for approval.

 “Who is the program intended to help if not those of us with a high debt or poor credit? I intend to reapply for the hardest hit funds.”

Only 56 loans were approved last year when the state distributed a fraction of the $300 million in federal funds it got for the program.

Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable blames management failures.

 “We did not appropriately staff the program. We did not appropriately scale the program.”

Constable says the program now has additional staff, better management, and more relaxed requirements. He says the goal is to make 250 loans a month.

“It is our projection that if our 250 loans a month holds, we expect to expend the entire $300 million of the hardest hit fund allocation by July of 2014.”

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