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$3M for counselors, lawyers helping in foreclosures

More than $3 million is headed to Long Island for counselors and lawyers helping homeowners facing foreclosure, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Wednesday.

The money is the second of three installments in Schneiderman's Homeowner Protection Program, or HOPP. Thirteen local groups that provide free legal services and housing counseling will share the funds.

The grants, totaling $60 million over three years across New York State, come from a national settlement Schneiderman and 48 other state attorneys general and the federal Department of Justice reached with the country's five largest mortgage servicing companies.

"Foreclosures are painful to any family and any community that experiences them, but we now have a proven program that is putting homeowners first and getting neighborhoods throughout the state back on track," Schneiderman said.

He noted foreclosure filings continue to soar on Long Island. Last month, Newsday reported the number of new foreclosure cases in January-August rose nearly 53 percent compared with the same period in 2012. Nationwide, the number of initial filings fell 34 percent in the same period.

Local housing and legal groups also received $3 million last year under HOPP. Together they assisted 4,729 households.

Martha Correa and her husband, Orville, sought help from the Long Island Housing Partnership after trying for more than a year to negotiate a loan modification.

The Bay Shore couple had been struggling financially due to the recession and about $20,000 in damages caused by superstorm Sandy. Less than a month after contacting the housing partnership, the Correas were granted a temporary loan modification by Citibank. Their case was featured in a report from the attorney general.

The groups receiving the most money this year are Long Island Housing Services, $535,000; Community Development Corp. of Long Island, $389,500; and Nassau Suffolk Law Services, $321,452.

CDC helped 540 households during HOPP's first year. Chief executive Marianne Garvin said the need among Long Island homeowners, particularly minorities, is still great: "The foreclosure problem is holding back certain communities. It's a problem that's bigger than just the individual homeowners, it's neighborhoods that are devastated."

To find HOPP counselors and attorneys go to


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