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(TRENTON) — Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Chair Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Vice-Chair L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex) and Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer) issued a multimedia package Thursday in which they discuss their impressions following a joint hearing of the financial panel and the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee regarding the Christie administration’s failure to aid New Jersey families facing foreclosure.

New Jersey has the nation’s second highest rate of foreclosure, yet the Christie administration has dragged its feet in distributing $300 million in federal foreclosure aid to homeowners in need.

The multimedia package consists of video commentary from the three members and audio and a transcript of same.

The video can be accessed directly via our website — — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.

A transcript of comments from the Democratic members is appended below:

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Vice-Chair:
“I do believe that the [Christie] administration dropped the ball. It took almost two years before the administration appreciated the severity of the foreclosure crisis and hired additional people to do the processing of it. That’s unacceptable.”

Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer):
“One of the questions I asked the commissioner directly was, were there people that lost their homes because of the problems with this program? And it is clear that that is the case, and I think that’s unacceptable.

“We have to go back and make sure we’re not only helping those that are eligible now for the Homekeeper program but help those in the broader foreclosure crisis that are existing today.”

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic), Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee Chair:
“To the over 58,000 people who went into foreclosure two years ago an apology is simply not good enough.

“I think that given the unfortunate history of these funds and the fact that the watchdog did not do what watchdogs are supposed to do, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that every dollar is spent correctly; that as many New Jerseyans that can possibly be helped are helped and that the Legislature continues to involve itself to make sure that is the case. I think that’s incumbent upon us.”