Sandy Foreclosure Assistance Bill Passes NJ State Senate

By JULIET KASZAS-HOCH | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Trenton — As the July 1 expiration approached for reauthorization of a mortgage forbearance and foreclosure assistance program for Superstorm Sandy victims, various local organizations and politicians – in particular, the New Jersey Organizing Project and Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove of the 9th District – rallied for an extension. Bills A-5096 and S-3582 were soon after posted for a vote. The Assembly version of the bill passed in late March, and, on June 20, the state Senate passed the identical legislation.

“As representatives of an area that was among the hardest hit by Sandy, we continue to work closely with constituents who are still coping with the catastrophic damage caused by the storm,” the 9th District delegation said in a joint statement. “Therefore, we completely understand how critical the mortgage forbearance and foreclosure assistance program is to Sandy victims, as well as to the overall rebuilding and recovery process.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure everyone who was impacted by the storm regains a sense of normalcy in their lives. This doesn’t just mean living in your home again – it also means putting an end to the constant battles with mortgage companies, insurance companies, contractors, and the bureaucracy as a whole.”

As per the measure, homeowners affected by Sandy can avoid foreclosure by applying for a forbearance period on mortgages; they may stop making mortgage payments, but will be responsible for maintaining and insuring their properties, and paying property taxes. Sandy-impacted homeowners are defined as those approved for assistance through the state’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Evaluation, and Mitigation (RREM) program, Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) program and Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program.

The bill provides a three-year extension of mortgage relief and foreclosure protection, expiring July 1, 2022.

“Far too many Sandy victims are still in the process of putting the pieces of their lives back together,” the 9th District legislators stated. “They shouldn’t have to worry if the state is going to let a program they rely on, or may need in the immediate future, expire due to bureaucratic inaction. Certainly, they deserve better.”

As the New Jersey Organizing Project – a nonprofit, grassroots organization created following Sandy – stated last week, “Thanks to all for helping us push for this bill. Now it’s off to the Governor’s desk!” —J.K.-H.

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