Murphy Administration Launches Housing Counceling Initiative

Aug 14, 2018

NJ Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver in Newark to announce the launch of the Foreclosure Mediation Housing Counseling Initiative.
Credit Ang Santos / WBGO

Charles Richman with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency says the state is setting aside $1 million to provide counseling assistance to homeowners.

“That million dollars ought to carry us through 17 to 1,800 families,” Richman said.  “If you can get to mediation early, the amount of debt they may own is manageable.  If they wait for that whole process to cycle though, and it takes several years often, the debt is so high there’s no way to ameliorate it.  The key is the first 60 days.”

Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver says the foreclosure process is complicated, and believes homeowners are more likely to understand their situation with counseling.

“When professionals are at the table who know the law, who know the process.  The fact they can go to the table and go back and forth with these lending institutions,” Oliver said.  “Do not be embarrassed that you could not meet a mortgage payment.  There’s not one of us walking on the face of the Earth that has not been confronted with a financial challenge.  When you get that notification reach out and come to one of our counselling centers.”

State officials are looking to raise more dollars for the foreclosure counseling program.

Ronald Slaughter, Pastor, Saint James A.M.E. Church in Newark says the foreclosure crisis is a sickness to the community.

“It’s almost similar to the opioid crisis.  Seeing these families going thought sickness [like] heart attacks, strokes, depression and so many other sicknesses due to this foreclosure crisis.”