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New state program buys mortgages to avoid foreclosures

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 25, 2017.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 25, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

ALBANY — The state is stepping in to help 203 Long Island households facing foreclosure in a new way to combat zombie properties, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced.

The state’s $7.6 million Community Restoration Fund has bought out the mortgages of the Long Island homes and 195 others statewide in neighborhoods hit hard by zombie or vacated houses. Under the program, the state essentially becomes the lender, providing homeowners with more latitude to continue paying a mortgage that they found to be unaffordable under traditional banking practices. The program also provides funding to repair homes.

The state also can take on a mortgage that a family hasn’t been able to pay so that when they move, the property doesn’t get boarded up and ignored for months.

The program Cuomo announced in January will purchase mortgages in 33 of the state’s 62 counties.

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to call home,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This program gives New Yorkers at risk of losing the American dream the opportunity to get back on track and to make necessary repairs — helping to preserve their homes and their neighborhoods.”

The state program is funded by settlement funds secured by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman against Morgan Stanley in an investigation of the national mortgage crisis that helped precipitate the 2008 recession.

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