In response to today’s joint meeting of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance and Housing and Community Development Committees to examine New Jersey’s foreclosure crisis, Assemblymen John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) released the following statements:
Assemblyman John McKeon, chair of the Financial Institutions Committee: “Today, we took a significant step to combat our serious foreclosure problem in New Jersey. Our state leads the nation in foreclosures, with 70,000 properties going through the process in 2017. That’s simply unacceptable. We have to make strides to not only keep people in their homes, but ensure the foreclosure process is fair and just for those without other options.
“The legislation we put forward in this meeting will help us alleviate several conflicts tied to foreclosure, from expediting the legal process, to ensuring residential homes do not sit vacant for years on end.
“By making our foreclosure system more efficient and fair, it’s my hope that we will reduce the amount of foreclosures in our state and protect the interests of homeowners, neighborhoods and communities.”
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee: “Today’s meeting was extremely productive and allowed us to take a comprehensive look at New Jersey’s foreclosure crisis. In terms of solutions, the 9-bill legislative package that we introduced will help us deal with the more than 16,000 foreclosed homes in our state.
“We also learned that this problem is the result of a number of factors, such as mortgages that really were not written in the best interest of homebuyers and led to them losing their properties. There’s also the issue of dishonest landlords who collect rent money from tenants during foreclosure proceedings, pay nothing towards the mortgage and as a result, cause tenants to be shocked by an eviction. Foreclosed properties that sit in neighborhoods for years without being maintained are also a major issue, because these homes become eyesores to the community and drive property values down.
“As chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, I look forward to working with my assembly colleagues, banking and insurance industries, the community, and all stakeholders to get these bills passed. In addition, the fact that the affordable housing funding that had been diverted in previous budgets will be restored in the Department of Community Affairs should prove extremely promising towards our efforts. Working together, we can help solve the foreclosure crisis in New Jersey which will benefit all communities throughout the state.”