Advocates: Click HERE for MFY’s Waterfall Worksheet to determine whether borrowers pass HAMP or GSE Standard Modification waterfalls. For the HAMP & GSE Standard Modification Waterfall Worksheet User’s Guide, click HERE.
Launched in September 2008, MFY’s Foreclosure Prevention Project focuses on preventing foreclosures in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, three of the hardest-hit counties in the state. MFY has successfully negotiated many mortgage modifications in state court foreclosure settlement conferences, challenged the standing of plaintiffs to file foreclosure actions, and held accountable unscrupulous companies who bilk clients by claiming they will get their mortgage payments reduced.
In 2010, the Project took on increasingly complex cases and initiated litigation to enforce provisions of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which was designed to promote loan modifications to enable homeowners to keep their homes. The current informal system for appealing HAMP denials is wholly inadequate and, as a result, servicers are flouting HAMP’s requirements with impunity. MFY has submitted testimony to Congress on the issue and filed a class action lawsuit to challenge Bank of America’s refusal to modify the loan of a Staten Island homeowner who had complied with all the requirements of HAMP. In another case against the same bank, MFY saved the home of an elderly Queens’ resident after the bank had illegally auctioned it, despite the homeowner’s ongoing payments.
MFY’s Foreclosure Prevention Project works with other organizations to press the state and federal governments for legislative change, advocating for reforms to provide specific penalties for servicers’ violations of HAMP, and amendments to the Bankruptcy Code to allow judges to modify mortgage loans on a person’s primary home. The project also assists neighborhood-based housing organizations to educate tenants of buildings facing foreclosure on their rights.
In June 2011, MFY issued Justice Deceived, a report detailing how large foreclosure firms were subverting state regulations and harming homeowners by failing to file the necessary paperwork to move a foreclosure case to the settlement part. Thousands of cases are stuck in this “shadow docket,” causing interest and fees to accrue, further undermining homeowners’ chance for a successful loan modification. A follow-up report in May 2012, Justice Unsettled, showed that the practice continues. To defend homeowners against this practice, MFY filed a class action lawsuit against Stephen J. Baum, P.C. for engaging in unfair debt collection practices.
MFY’s Foreclosure Prevention Project is supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the New York State Department of Housing & Community Renewal, and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods.
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