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Horror stories at HUD session on mortgage debt

A house is marked with a foreclosure sign.

A house is marked with a foreclosure sign. Photo Credit: AP

The housing crisis has been relentless, and Friday some extreme  numbers have come  out of a U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development seminar at Farmingdale State College.

For example, starting in late 2007, teams of officials from HUD, U.S. Treasury Department, state banking and the New York City comptroller went around New York City every weekend to talk to homeowners who were in trouble on mortgages or close to default.

After 17 months of weekend meetings and more than 900 homeowner interviews, the results showed an insurmountable challenge, said Manny Alvarado, senior staff analyst at the HUD region that covers Long Island and the city: "We could help only three people."

He told the audience of Long Island nonprofits that 97 percent of the borrowers had mortgages higher than $465,000 and 96 percent made less than $75,000 a year. For most of them, the mortgage was 49 percent to 69 percent of housing expenses.

"All this debt and not enough income," Alvarado said.

The HUD in Your Neighborhood event will go on until late afternoon and is aimed at letting nonprofits know of HUD resources, including lessons on grant writing and help on identifying grant programs to fill each nonprofit's mission.

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