Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee Vice-Chair Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris) on Wednesday urged residents struggling to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure to consider their eligibility for the New Jersey Homekeeper Program, a federally-funded, state-run program designed to help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes as a direct result of unemployment or underemployment.
Jasey’s urging came after she took part in a special joint Assembly committee hearing today, which arose over continued concerns that Gov. Christie has failed to help many New Jersey homeowners facing foreclosure. New Jersey has the second highest foreclosure rate (7.7%) in the nation, yet the Christie administration has been slow to provide financial assistance to homeowners, with only 10 percent of the available federal funds being spent in the 15 months since New Jersey’s HomeKeeper program was launched.
“This program, if administered correctly, can serve as a tremendous asset to families in danger of losing their home,” said Jasey. “For many, it can mean the very difference between keeping or losing their home. I would urge anyone who is struggling in this economy due to a lack of work, and we know there are many, to look into this program to determine if they are eligible for assistance. We need to do everything in our power to keep families in their homes and stabilize the housing market for the sake of our long-term economic recovery.”
New Jersey was allocated approximately $300 million from the federal government as one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to receive assistance through the Hardest Hit Fund, which was established under the federal “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.”
As Vice-Chair of the Assembly Housing and Local Government committee, Jasey joined with other panel members in examining why the Christie administration has failed to administer a significant portion of these funds and listened to testimony from beleaguered homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes.
The committee then approved several bills to help expedite the administration of these funds so that more residents can avoid foreclosure.
Jasey urged anyone struggling with their mortgage payments due to lack of employment to visit the New Jersey Homekeeper website to help determine their eligibility for emergency assistance: www.njhomekeeper.gov/index.htm