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New program helps avoid foreclosure

The state is launching its New York State Mortgage Assistance Program, or NYS MAP, which will provide small loans to families struggling to avoid foreclosure.

The loans will help families secure mortgage modifications to stay in their homes. Details were to be released at a Nassau County Town Hall in Hempstead. NYS MAP will be rolled out first on Long Island. Applications from Long Island families will begin being processed on Sept. 15. Borrowers in the rest of the state can apply beginning Oct. 15.

In its work mitigating the damaging effects of the housing crisis in New York, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office discovered that many families are being denied mortgage modifications as a result of small outstanding debts. By filling the gap, the NYS MAP program will empower consumers to negotiate with their mortgage holders and ultimately remain in their homes.

To access NYS MAP, homeowners will work with an existing Homeowner Protection Program counselor or legal aid provider to complete the application. The website,, was launched Thursday. Consumers can also contact the attorney general consumer hotline at 1 (855) HOME-456 [1 (855) 466-3456].

Across Western New York, the distressed mortgage problem is concentrated in certain communities, with the highest rates in Rochester (7 percent) and certain neighborhoods in Buffalo. Overall, Erie County has the fifth highest distressed mortgage rate in New York state. Monroe County ranks the eighth highest for mortgage distress.