FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday October 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM
Contact: Malcolm Chu, 718-666-6872
STATEMENT REGARDING MAYOR SARNO’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO IMPLEMENT VACANT & FORECLOSED PROPERTY ORDINANCE.
We applaud Mayor Sarno’s announcement this morning regarding the implementation of the vacant & foreclosed property ordinance and hope the City Council will approve the appropriations request to implement the ordinance. After more than two years, this marks an important step forward to hold financial institutions accountable for the crisis they created. While implementation of one piece of the ordinance is a move in the right direction, however, Mayor Sarno’s failure to implement the second piece of the anti-foreclosure legislation, requiring banks to mediate with homeowners before foreclosure, continues to leave hundreds of families without support to stay in their homes and cost Springfield taxpayers millions of dollars.
Take for example Ivette Hernandez, a state caseworker at the Department of Children and Families. Ivette is at risk of having her home foreclosed on by Fannie Mae and Nationstar Mortgage in November, despite the fact that she has double the amount of money to pay off the arrears on her mortgage. She fell behind on her mortgage 7 months ago after her and her children were both hospitalized, putting her out of work temporarily and leading to huge medical costs. Despite acknowledging that Ivette can pay the $3656.66 she owes on her mortgage, Nationstar is requiring Ivette to pay more than $10,000 in legal fees and other foreclosure expenses to stop the foreclosure. If the Mandatory Mediation ordinance were in place, Nationstar would be required to sit down with Ivette and an independent third party mediator to work towards a resolution.
Families like Ivette’s and hundreds of others have waited more than two years for the Mayor to have their back. They can’t afford to wait any longer. Today is an important step forward, but further immediate action is needed to protect Springfield’s residents and homeowners, and as the Mayor said in his press conference today “deal with financial institutions and hold them accountable.”
For more information or to speak with residents who are at risk of foreclosure who could benefit from the city’s Mandatory Mediation ordinance were it to be implemented please contact Springfield No One Leaves at 413-342-1804.