New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday praised Philadelphia's mortgage-foreclosure-prevention program, saying he'd like to duplicate the effort in the Big Apple.
"Having a foreclosed house is not great," said Bloomberg during a conference call sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "We've got to do what Philadelphia has done and make sure we've got teeth."
Philadelphia's program provides homeowners in danger of foreclosure with free legal counseling and the opportunity to sit down with their lender in court to modify their loan.
Since its kick-off last June, 1,200 homes have been saved from foreclosure and about 1,500 are in the process of rescue, according to the mayor's press office.
"Some days you wonder whether you're actually having an impact on people's lives," Mayor Nutter said. "We know this program works."Originally, Philadelphia put up $5.3 million in funding - some of which came from federal sources - to pay for a hot line, housing counselors and outreach to homeowners for the 2009 fiscal year, which began last July 1. Volunteer lawyers provide the legal services. Nutter raised $300,000 in additional money to keep the program going.
The program is expected to continue into the 2010 fiscal year, which starts on July 1, with similar funding. *