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Governor Murphy Announces Effort to Help Renters, Homeowners Threatened by Potential Foreclosure

Published on March 19, 2020 by New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
Governor Murphy Announces Effort to Help Renters, Homeowners Threatened by Potential Foreclosure

NJHMFA Expanding Housing Counseling Program to Provide Resources, Guidance for Residents Affected by COVID-19

TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy today announced an expanded housing counseling initiative to help New Jersey renters and homeowners who are threatened with a loss of housing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

At the direction of Governor Murphy, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s (NJHMFA) housing counseling initiative is expanding to include renters, who may be concerned with eviction, and homeowners who may need counseling to help prevent possible foreclosure.  These services are available at no cost to the consumer.

“We are taking significant action today to help New Jersey residents facing rental or home mortgage hardships brought on by COVID-19. Expanding the state’s housing counseling initiatives will provide guidance to homeowners and renters to help them navigate through this difficult time,” said Governor Murphy. “We are all in this together, and whether you or a family member, friend or neighbor are adversely impacted by COVD-19, New Jersey is standing with you.”

NJHMFA is expanding its Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP) to include renter and pre-foreclosure counseling by utilizing a network of participating housing counselors in each county. The counseling is available now and can be provided remotely. 

FMAP, created in 2018, is a free housing counseling initiative which works with New Jersey’s existing court mediation program to help homeowners who have received a foreclosure complaint.

The expanded program will now include pre-foreclosure counseling to provide upfront assistance to help homeowners avoid potential foreclosure. At the same time, the counseling made available to renters will guide them on how to approach discussions with their landlords on dealing with their rent situation.

“Renters, particularly those who are gig workers or employed in sectors such as restaurants, bars and other industries hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis, are facing severe income reductions or losses,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “These new counseling initiatives will give them, as well as homeowners on the verge of foreclosure, resources and guidance on how to help stabilize their housing options.”

An analysis of the benefits of housing counseling found that homeowners who participated are nearly three times as likely to receive a loan modification, counseled homeowners were 70 percent more likely to remain current on their mortgage after receiving the loan modification; and counseled homeowners achieved on average a reduction of close to $5,000 per year on their mortgage payments.

A full list of participating counselors follows or can be found at: njhousing.gov/foreclosure

NJHMFA is a leader in the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing opportunities for families, seniors and special needs residents statewide through its loan financing and bond programs; mortgage, down payment and closing costs assistance; and the award of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. NJHMFA does not rely on any direct funding from the New Jersey State Treasury to meet its core operating or administrative expenses. For more information on NJHMFA, visit njhousing.gov.