Now Law: Timberlake, Benson, & Wimberly Measure to Establish the “New Jersey Foreclosure Counseling Fund”

(TRENTON) – To ensure that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) receives the funding that it needs to administer housing counseling activities, Assembly Democrats Britnee N. Timberlake, Dan Benson, and Benjie Wimberly sponsored legislation that would establish the “New Jersey Foreclosure Counseling Fund”.  The measure was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that funding for the NJHMFA is not redirected and that they are able to use all of their allocated money,” said Assemblywoman Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic).  “With this law, we will be able to guarantee that housing counseling efforts receive direct support from the State and obtain the essential funding to carry out their services.”

The law (formerly bill A-6251) will establish in the General Fund a separate, non-lapsing, dedicated account administered by the Department of Community Affairs to be known as the ”New Jersey Foreclosure Counseling Fund.”  Under the law, the funds will be paid to the NJHMFA no later than the 15th day of each quarter to reimburse trained foreclosure prevention and default mitigation counselors for pre-foreclosure counseling services.

“Establishing the New Jersey Foreclosure Counseling Fund allows us to help more homeowners throughout the state in need of counseling services,” said Assemblyman Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex).  “Providing this assistance will help homeowners avoid potential foreclosure and ensure that New Jerseyans are not losing their homes because of rules they may not have known about.”

Additionally, the law permits the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to assess up to five percent of the New Jersey Foreclosure Counseling Fund’s annual allocation amounts for administrative costs.

“Addressing the housing crisis in New Jersey must include supporting and educating renters. Renters are mostly left out of housing counseling services but it’s necessary for them to,” said Assemblyman Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic).  “This law will also make counseling more available for renters and allow them to receive guidance prior to discussions with landlords.”