When neighborhoods deteriorate from foreclosures, local businesses also suffer.
With that in mind, State Attorney Eric Schneiderman brought his office’s efforts to help save homeowners from foreclosure to the Bronx Chamber of Commerce’s Business Exposition on Wednesday, June 11.
More than a hundred businesses were showcased with a wide range of products and services, along with representation by a number of city agencies at the exposltion, held at the Villa Barone in Throggs Neck.
Schneiderman spoke about his office’s Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) which helps save the homes of people who may be facing foreclosure. HOPP works with homeowners to help them understand their finances, connects them to free legal services, and even speaks to banks on their behalf.
“No one in New York is ever going to lose their home because they could not get access to a lawyer to help them understand their rights,” the attorney general said.
The program has counseled over 1,000 people in the Bronx alone, he said, and reached over 28,000 in the state, getting over 9,000 loan modifications.
Schneiderman also spoke of his office’s efforts to deal with abandoned homes, as well as zombie properties – those vacated by the mortgage holder but still not in the bank’s possession because they have not gone through the foreclosure process.
In addition, the attorney general addressed wage theft, reforming regulations governing non-profits, and funding bullet-proof vests for police officers.
He explained how his office seeks to work with what he called “good actors to make the business environment fair.”
Chamber Chairman Joseph Kelleher in his remarks to the room, expressed optimism that the Bronx would become an even more attractive place for people and investments.
In order for the borough to prosper, Kelleher said it was necessary “to create that environment where people want to work, live, and play.”
He cited the area around the Hutchinson Metro Center, which he helped develop as president of Simone Metro Properties, as indicative of the growth and opportunities that the borough offers.
Among the new developments he spoke of are Metro North stations and a Marriot Residence Inn Hotel.
The exposition, co-sponsored by the Bronx Times Reporter, included workshops on topics including social media, technology, healthcare, and Minority/Women-Owned Business certification.