Special to the AmNews

The NAACP and the Ocwen Financial Corporation hosted the third Help & Hope for Homeowners event Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, N.Y. The NAACP and Ocwen assist homeowners in securing and maintaining homes that have been affected by the real estate crash.

“At this event [was] a variety of not-for-profit counselors [who assisted] the homeowners,” said Garry Johnson, NAACP New York State Conference economic development chair. “After [the] process they [were] assisted directly by staff that Ocwen financial [provided] to see if they can either get a modification, reinstatement, repayment plan or some other option that will allow them to maintain their homes and not go into foreclosure.”

More than 20,000 letters were sent to homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as in Brooklyn, Queens and other parts of New York.

“For many of us, our home is our most valuable possession, and homeownership is really the cornerstone for minority wealth management, development and preservation,” said Johnson. “The NAACP has five active game changers: health, education, political engagement, criminal justice and economic development. And we consider economic development to be a civil right. So by working with mortgage servicers like Ocwen, and by working with other mortgage companies, like we have done in the past, we are making it an important foundational aspect of the work that we do to make sure that our communities are able to preserve as much wealth as possible, not only for the current generation but also for the future generations.

“As a community, for whatever the reason is, we have not availed ourselves of some of the wealth creation strategies that others have used. Through education, through dissemination of information and programs such as this, we feel this can be an important part of making sure our community is not only preserved but enhanced and continue the wealth for the next generations.”

This event for Ocwen customers follows successful events recently held in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, where more than 250 borrowers sought solutions.

In August 2015, New York Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued a report on foreclosure activity in New York. DiNapoli found that “trends in both new foreclosure filings and the total number of pending foreclosure cases indicate that the problem is far from resolved.” Specifically, the downstate area outside of New York City has experienced “the greatest number of pending foreclosures, and has experienced relatively rapid growth in the number of pending foreclosure cases over the past two years.”

“Foreclosures continue to be an epidemic in communities of color,” said Johnson. “It’s a troubling reality that African-Americans and other minorities continue to experience disproportionately high levels of unemployment, poverty and foreclosures. The NAACP recognizes there is still work to be done throughout the New York metropolitan area to help struggling homeowners better afford their homes and remain part of their community. This is a key reason we are partnering with Ocwen—to help educate homeowners on loan modification programs, including principal reduction, which can help make homes more affordable.

“It is beneficial of Ocwen to be able to have people stay in their homes and pay their mortgage as opposed to losing their homes. It is a win-win and most importantly it is a win for our community.”

Ocwen customers interested in attending these events are encouraged to view videos from Garry Anthony Johnson and from an Ocwen home retention agent to learn more about the benefits of attending. Ocwen homeowners are also encouraged to call the NAACP dedicated hotline at 855-459-2514.