The Newark/Essex Foreclosure Taskforce was created by Mayor Cory Booker and Essex County in 2007, in response to the rise in foreclosures in Newark and surrounding communities in Essex County related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The Mayor believed residents were victims of the previous years of sub-prime loans and Essex County needed to be prepared to deal with the foreclosure problem. The Taskforce is comprised of representatives of over 40 community development corporations, nonprofit housing counseling and legal service providers, government and community development officials and advocacy organizations.
The Taskforce’s primary focus is to:
- Address the impact of mortgage foreclosures on homeowners and tenants;
- Support housing security and neighborhood stability;
- Advocate for resources for foreclosure counseling, tenant’s rights education and families displaced by foreclosure. The Taskforce meets each month to discuss current foreclosure legislation, opportunities for advocacy, loss mitigation activities and neighborhood impact. The Taskforce has four (4) sub-committees:
- Policy and Advocacy
- Outreach, Tenant’s Rights and Displaced Families
- Legal Resources
- Housing Counselors
If you have expertise in any of the above areas and would be interested in volunteering to one of the sub-committees or if you are interested in attending a monthly Taskforce meeting, please contact the Taskforce Coordinator at email@example.com
Newark/Essex Foreclosure Taskforce – 2013 Accomplishments:
Homeowner Workout & Education Events
- Coordinated events where homeowners in default or foreclosure were able to come and sit with a bank representative and receive information on their loan and possible home retention solutions. This included: Partnership with Bank of America to bring a 3 day homeowner event held at the Hilton Hotel in Newark. Additionally, there were HUD certified housing counselors on site and representatives from the HMFA to discuss resources.
- Assisted Hope Now in marketing it’s homeowner outreach event in March 2013, which focused on providing assistance to those homeowners impacted as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
- Working with NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency on outreach for their homeowner outreach events.
- In 2013, the Taskforce participated in a foreclosure workshop coordinated by councilman Ramos. Attendees received information about the foreclosure process and resources available for homeowners in foreclosure.
Community Outreach Events
- The Foreclosure Taskforce coordinated a series of outreach events where we set up information tables and distributed information. This included: The Newark Community Open Market Greet, Delta Sigma Theta Sor0rity “Home Sweet Home” Workshop, 4 Day African American Heritage Festival and Newark Relay For Life. Community Scam Awareness Day in partnership with NeighborWorks® America. Over 100 volunteers worked in teams of 10 to canvass nine (9) neighborhoods in Newark and one neighborhood in Orange. Each team went door to door and provided materials and educated residents on loan modification scams against homeowners and rental scams against tenants.
- The Foreclosure Taskforce outreach team conducted door knocking/street canvassing throughout the city of Newark and Essex County Municipalities of East Orange, Orange, Irvington and Montclair, which included the distribution of brochures and flyers on foreclosure resources, foreclosure scam awareness, loan modification, and rental scams.
- The Taskforce continues to prioritize maintaining relationships with servicers/lenders to provide a better outcome for homeowners who are seeking home retention solutions. The Foreclosure Taskforce coordinator continues to work closely with the following servicers – Citigroup, GMAC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and is currently in contact with Capital One Bank and JP Morgan and Chase. Strong servicer relationships will continue to be the focus for the coming year.
- Meetings – The Taskforce has held monthly meetings, to provide Taskforce members the opportunity to gain insight and information on current foreclosure issues and resources. Presenters were also provided at these meetings, which included: NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, Dr. Kathe Newman of Rutgars Bloustein School, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and Josh Stein, lead counsel to the monitor for the National Mortgage Settlement.
- Trainings – To stay current on industry changes the Taskforce staff has participated in the followings trainings in 2013 – Independent Foreclosure Review, Making Home Affordable HARP Program, Bank of America Grant Webinar, and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and Center for NYC Neighborhoods Housing Counselor Training City of Newark Foreclosure hearing.
- In 2013, the Foreclosure Taskforce partnered with New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to host an event for Faith Leaders. The event was held in St. James AME Church in Newark and provided information to local faith leaders on the foreclosure resources available to both homeowners and tenants, including foreclosure/housing counseling. Additionally, HMFA provided information on their homeownership.
- The Foreclosure Taskforce continues to outreach to Faith Leaders, churches and faith based organizations. Providing information on foreclosure prevention and resources for Newark and Essex County residents.