Dear Editor:

                    Millions of Americans have lost their homes, and Queens has felt the full scourge of the foreclosure                         crisis. We rank very high in the list of foreclosure capitals of the USA. One in nine homeowners in                         Queens is currently delinquent 90 days or more on their mortgage, or is in foreclosure.

                    The attorney generalís office and community-based organizations, such as Queens Legal Services                         and Neighborhood Housing Services of Northern Queens provide advice and assistance to  

homeowners facing potential foreclosure, but much more time and resources must be dedicated exclusively to preserving the American Dream of home ownership from all levels of government city, state and federal. We need all hands on deck. 

Moreover, funding for the stateís $25 million Foreclosure Prevention Services Program expires at the end of the year, and Gov. Cuomo must continue funding this program that provides homeowners with counseling, legal assistance and help negotiating with banks. The fact that housing counseling increases the likelihood that homeowners will be granted a loan modification by 200 percent, and that counseled borrowers will receive more favorable terms on their loan modifications, including lower monthly payments, is confirmed in many studies. 

Similarly, legal representation at the mandatory settlement conferences helps to level the playing field for homeowners. The banks they are negotiating with are always represented by an attorney, and resources must be allocated to ensure that homeowners have mandatory legal representation to achieve the best possible outcome. 

The economic and social impact of foreclosed and abandoned homes is ravaging and devastating on communities. Crime and social evils increase, while public safety, tax revenues and home values correspondingly decrease. Charity begins at home. Foreclosure prevention helps save money, keeps families together and preserves the pristine beauty of our communities.

 Albert Baldeo
 Ozone Park


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