Wall Street and the real estate boys bring around an economic collapse, but we bail them out so they aren’t hit too hard. But then the economy is such a mess, revenues are down because of that, so the obvious place for budget cutting is here:
In the large immigrant community of Jamaica, Queens, which is ground zero of New York City’s foreclosure crisis, a small squad of young lawyers fans out to local courts every day to do battle with lenders, negotiate hard-fought changes to onerous loans and provide free legal representation to low-income homeowners about to lose their homes.
Now, however, the anti-foreclosure team itself is facing foreclosure.
The state’s budget squeeze has put at risk more than 120 legal aid and homeowner-counseling agencies across the state that have provided a last-ditch legal and economic lifeline to thousands of distressed homeowners.
“I am not sure I will have enough money to pay my staff by the end of this year,” said Jennifer Ching, the project director of Queens Legal Services, one of the groups whose future is threatened. “New York could soon find itself with thousands of unrepresented homeowners who risk falling through the cracks.”
Foreclosure-prevention programs, which over the past three years have helped more than 3,000 homeowners facing foreclosure in New York City, have been financed since 2009 by federal stimulus spending, but that money will run out by the end of this year. That has left lawmakers scrambling to try to find new state financing, while the small army of pro bono lawyers fighting foreclosures wait and worry. Some have already stopped taking on new clients.
That makes sense!