New Foreclosure Buyback Program Seeks to Help Families Keep Their Homes

QUEENS — Dozens of families across the city, who were in danger of being foreclosed on may be able to keep their homes thanks to a new program — the first of its kind in the country — in which the city will buy back distressed mortgages from the federal government, elected officials said Tuesday.

As part of the Foreclosure Buyback Program, which is now in its pilot phase, the city was able to purchase 24 distressed mortgages, including six in Southeast Queens, city officials announced Tuesday at the Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Jamaica, one of the neighborhoods that has been hit hardest by the 2008 housing crisis and has still not recovered from it.

“It is a day of smiles and joy in this battle of foreclosure,” said Councilman Daneek Miller, who worked on the program with Councilmen Ruben Wills and Donovan Richards, as well as a number of nonprofits specializing in housing assistance.

In recent years the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) implemented changes to its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, allowing municipalities across the country to purchase mortgages from the federal government to assist people with refinancing their mortgage, officials said.

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