In New York, a special program—the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP)—connects homeowners to free, qualified foreclosure relief services. The New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) is an enhancement to HOPP, and provides interest-free, no-payment loans to eligible New York homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure.
Keep reading to learn more about HOPP and MAP, how a loan from MAP might be able to help you avoid a foreclosure, and how to avoid scammer foreclosure rescue services.
The New York Office of the Attorney General implemented HOPP in 2012. The program funds a statewide network of around 90 housing counseling and legal services organizations that provide free advice and other forms of help to homeowners facing foreclosure in New York. (To learn more about HOPP, read Save Your New York Home From Foreclosure: The Homeowner Protection Program.)
The New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP), which is part of HOPP, loans money to homeowners to help them avoid a foreclosure.
Proceeds from a MAP loan may be used to:
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods, which is a nonprofit organization, manages the program, while loans are made by Sustainable Neighborhoods LLC, which is a subsidiary of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods.
MAP provides a 0% interest mortgage loan consisting of up to $40,000 to eligible homeowners who are at risk of a foreclosure in New York. (Read a summary of New York foreclosure laws.)
You don’t have to make any monthly payments on the loan as long as you live in the home. But the full principal amount comes due when you sell or refinance the property, or if you default.
To qualify for a MAP loan, among other things, you must have experienced a financial hardship and show that you can afford your housing payments after getting the loan. (Your HOPP housing counselor or legal services provider can explain the additional eligibility requirements.)
To apply for MAP assistance, you need to work with a HOPP counselor or legal aid provider. Go to www.nysmap.org to find out more about the program and connect with a HOPP lawyer or counselor.
You may also call the New York Attorney General Consumer hotline at 855-HOME-456 or go to the HOPP website to find a housing counseling or legal services organization.
Be suspicious if a private company other than your lender or servicer solicits you for loan modification assistance or foreclosure relief services—especially if the company charges an upfront fee. It’s illegal in New York for non-attorneys to charge upfront fees for mortgage modification assistance. (Read about foreclosure rescue scams and get tips on how to avoid them.)
To help homeowners avoid modification scams and other kinds of foreclosure rescue scams, the New York State Attorney General’s Office set up website called AGScamHelp. This website helps homeowners figure out if a company has been vetted by a government agency and, if not, find a trusted organization that can provide help in avoiding a foreclosure.
If you think you have already been scammed, you may file a complaint with the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
If you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments, you may also call your loan servicer (the company you make your monthly payment to) directly to talk about available options to avoid a foreclosure. Most servicers offer various ways to get caught up on your payments, like forbearance agreements and repayment plans, or you might qualify for a loan modification that makes your monthly payment more affordable.
If you still need assistance after contacting HOPP and your servicer, or want to learn about potential defenses to foreclosure in your circumstances, consider talking to a local foreclosure attorney.