Bronx homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes can now visit the Bronx Courthouse for help.
During this tough economic climate, many people are facing foreclosure on their homes. On Friday, June 3, the Bronx Foreclosure Center, a resource for Bronx residents who are at risk of losing their houses, opened on the sixth floor of the Bronx Courthouse.
The center, which was modeled after a similar and successful program in Queens, will provide homeowners with free legal and housing advice from trained counselors that will help them know their rights and aid them through the legal process.
The center was opened after two years of hard work and efforts by Senator Jeff Klein, who has passed and signed into law many landmark protections for homeowners dealing with the foreclosure process.
Now, Klein says, the people of the Bronx can seek much needed assistance in keeping the “American Dream” of owning and maintaining a home.
“I think we can all agree that, when a person purchases a home, it is the most important investment in anybody’s life,” Klein said. “We can pass all the laws that we want and enforce them, but now we want to make sure that people have the ability to come into our house of justice and really understand what it means to be in foreclosure and give them the help that they need.”
More than 100 people, including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York State Court of Appeals Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman, gathered at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new resource center.
The center was funded with $175,000 that Senator Klein was able to secure in the 2009-2010 New York State budget, as well as financial support from the Bronx County Court Administration, Legal Services NYC, the New York Legal Assistance Group, Brooklyn Housing and Family Services, and The Bronx Legal Aid Society, amongst others.
“All over the nation we hear about home foreclosures, but for all of us here in the Bronx, we know the faces of many of those individuals,” Diaz said. “The single biggest investment in our borough are those individuals who have collectively purchased and invested their life savings on homes in the Bronx. It warms my heart that we are working collectively to help these individuals.”
Over 200 letters in English and Spanish have already been mailed to Bronx residents facing foreclosure to notify them of the new program, which will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“The center serves as a model for how the court system can resolve foreclosure cases in a fair, speedy and comprehensive manner,” Justice Lippman said. “This is a prime example of what can be accomplished through cooperation between the different branches of government and among the many affected by the foreclosure crisis.”