Advocates working with families in danger of losing their homes have urged Connecticut legislators to extend more help to try to stem the tide of foreclosures.
The state legislature’s Banks Committee is considering a number of bills that would change the way the state attempts to help families in foreclosure –the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority currently implements the state’s programs – director of the Authority Timothy Bannon told the committee although they’ve been able to help 15,000 families so far, the ground is shifting under their feet.
"Now, instead of simply dealing with a set of conditions arising from what in many cases were predatory lending practices, the problem has been compounded by unemployment and underemployment."
One key provision in the proposed legislation would allow homeowners to apply for emergency mortgage relief much earlier – when their loans are 60 days delinquent, instead of having to wait for a foreclosure notice. The bill would also loosen income provisions for those seeking assistance. Also under consideration, a measure that would require banks to maintain properties that they foreclose on, in order to prevent the slide in neighboring property values. Gary Hogan runs a task force that manages vacant properties for New Haven – he says the city is beginning to be stifled by blight.
"Folks will leave, and the bank will take over, and they’ll put a lockbox on the front. Once that lockbox which has a key in it for the realtor to get in, that is a symbol that this house is vacant and that’s where our vandals and a certain set of society decide to prey upon that property."
Other bills would tighten licensing provisions for mortgage professionals and crack down on mortgage fraud.