January event will provide hands-on-help and counseling services

For Immediate Release
January 6, 2014
Contact: Joan Lawrence-Bauer
845-331-2140 x 263

January-23-Gibson-updated

Kingston, NY — 1/6/2014 — Noting that 8.8% of mortgages in Ulster County and 11.1% of mortgages in Sullivan are in foreclosure, Congressman Chris Gibson and RUPCO announced a Homeowner Help Day to be held in the Village of Ellenville Government Center at 2 Elting Court from 9 am to 4 pm on January 23, 2013. Unemployment benefits are due to be cut for many long-term unemployed and mortgages that got foreclosure modifications in 2009 will be adjusted upward this year, increasing interest costs for homeowners who might not have recovered from recession yet.

Constituent Services staff from Congressman Chris Gibson’s office and certified, experienced housing counselors from RUPCO and Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corporation (RDAC) are sponsoring the event to support financially distressed homeowners who are in foreclosure, worried that they might be, or just generally stressed out about housing and housing related financial issues like mortgages, taxes, energy costs and other concerns. The event is free and Congressman Gibson will host a press conference at 9:30 am to kick off the day-long event.

“By partnering together, I’m hopeful this event will provide valuable information to my constituents who need assistance with their home mortgages. As we continue to push for policies that grow our economy, we need to ensure an adequate safety net for our friends and neighbors who are going through a tough time,” said Congressman Gibson. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as of the third quarter of 2013, 8.8% in Ulster and 11.1% in Sullivan county mortgages are in foreclosure. This indicates a substantial need to assist distressed homeowners. Housing counselors have been successful in reducing the percentages of mortages actually in foreclosure since 2012. But many homeowners are still struggling. Major factors affecting the ability of homeowners to maintain their mortgage payments include loss or reduction of income, increase in taxes and expenses or other life events. Energy costs, health issues and other factors may also impact homeownership.

People still need help, said RUPCO’s CEO Kevin O’Connor. The Federal Reserve Bank reports that household debt is on the rise, and HAMP modifications that were approved in 2009 all have interest rates that will begin to reset, causing higher payments. For these reasons, homeowners need advice and counsel on how to deal with their mortgage payments.

RUPCO’s Vice President of Housing Services Kathy Germain said people can benefit from other professional services they may not have access to or be able to afford in addition to counseling on foreclosure. Homeowners are invited to attend the free Homeowner Help Day if they are:

having difficulty or behind with their mortgage payments or had a mortgage modification that will be adjusted this year;
having trouble applying for a mortgage modification or getting an answer regarding a modification;
behind on property taxes;
anxious to speak to an attorney about a mortgage, foreclosure or bankruptcy;
needing information due to under or unemployment;
worried about the tax implications of foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu will have if you decide to leave your home.
behind on other debt and need to understand their consumer rights
In addition to housing counselors, homeowners can meet with other information and service providers who will provide valuable information on how to reduce monthly costs when facing reductions in income. Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, the Empire Justice Center and Ulster Savings Bank are just a few of the participating firms and agencies joining the effort. A free continental breakfast will be provided and after opening remarks by Congressman Gibson, each homeowner will meet first with a housing counselor for a confidential, one-on-one assessment of their unique situations. Then the housing counselors will direct the homeowners to other service providers in the room who can help them.

“We are designing this day so that when people leave, they will actually have taken at least one step toward fixing their situations,” said Germain. “We will offer a wide variety of help available for homeowners from young first timers to advanced seniors. Asking for help is the hardest step of all for many homeowners. We hope this day will help them take the first of many steps.”

RUPCO is the region’s leading provider and advocate of quality, affordable housing and community development programs aimed to provide opportunity and revitalize communities. Through its work, the agency strengthens homes, communities and lives. More information on this event and on RUPCO is available by calling 845-331-9860 or visiting www.rupco.org.

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