Saving Our Housing Programs

If you support the homeownership and housing services that TRIP and our sister organization, Rensselaer County Housing Resources (RCHR), provides to your neighbors, your communities — and perhaps even you — in Troy and the entire county, you might be shocked to know that the proposed State budget will eliminate and/or severely cut them. Here is why and what you can do.

The proposed State budget slashes funding for the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs in half. These programs provide core funding to TRIP and RCHR to keep our agency, including our HomeOwnership Center, operating day-to-day. Therefore, these funds support many of our services including First-time Homebuyer Education, one-on-one financial counseling, Mini-Repair services and Landlord Training, among others. The small State investment is leveraged many times over, providing a great “bang for the buck.” For example, in 2010, through our HomeOwnership Center we counseled 436 families, produced 78 new homebuyers, provided home improvements and repairs to 220 seniors and 58 very low income families, and trained 64 landlords. This generated more than $10 million in mortgages, $1.8 million in local business, kept small contractors working, and more.

The proposed State budget eliminates funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program. This program has provided resources for foreclosure prevention housing counselors (such as at TRIP’s HomeOwnership Center) and legal assistance providers to help homeowners prevent mortgage foreclosure when possible. Last year, TRIP’s foreclosure counselors helped 84 families in Rensselaer County who were facing foreclosure. This year, we expect to see many more families at risk of foreclosure due primarily to job losses or hours cut. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of NY found that in September 2010, in Rensselaer County there were 530 loans in foreclosure and just as many (525) where homeowners were more than 90 days late in their mortgage payment, leading to imminent risk of foreclosure. Experts believe that NYS is not even halfway through the foreclosure crisis, which means that foreclosure prevention services must continue in order to help homeowners navigate the very complicated foreclosure process. In turn, foreclosure assistance will help communities which also suffer when lenders foreclose: home conditions deteriorate, property taxes go unpaid, and surrounding housing values decline. Without additional funding for the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program, TRIP will likely lose our foreclosure counselors (1 FT, 1 PT) when our contract ends in December.

If you care about these services, your neighbors and your communities, we urge you to call your State representatives below and ask that they show their support for these housing programs by contacting their leaders.

– State Senator Roy McDonald at 455-2381
– Assembly-member Ron Canestrari (AD 106, much of Troy, Rensselaer, & Greenbushes) at 455-4474
– Assembly-member Steve McLaughlin (AD 108, various towns in Rens. Co) at 455-5777
– Assembly-member Tony Jordan (AD 112, eastern parts of Rens. Co) at 455-5404

Call as soon as possible as decisions are being made quickly to ensure a State budget agreement by April 1.