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Rice’s Homeowner Preservation Act Advances

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, released the following statement today regarding the approval by the members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, on his legislation which would create the New Jersey Homeownership Preservation Act.

The bill, SCS-1599 was approved by the Senate panel by a vote of 8 to 0 and 4 abstentions.

“Every day, there are news reports on the failing economy, the troubled housing market and the victims who are losing their homes to foreclosures. For the first time since the onset of the housing slump, New Jersey’s foreclosure filing rate exceeds the national average. Times are tough and they will continue to get tougher. Unemployment is up, the economy is down, and the prices for necessities are out of control.

“My legislation would take a big step towards easing the residential mortgage crisis by establishing a Mortgage Stabilization Program Fund in the NJHMFA ( New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency). The program would provide assistance to homeowners and lenders willing to refinance covered mortgages in order to ensure that homeowners have access to affordable mortgages.

“The Mortgage Stabilization Program proposed in the bill, mirrors a federal program and would provide a funding incentive for lenders willing to renegotiate loan terms.

“This measure would also establish the New Jersey Housing Assistance and Recovery Program (HARP). The HARP would provide funding to support a third party sponsor who enters into a lease-purchase agreement with a homeowner at risk of losing their house to foreclosure. The bill offers funding to sponsors who acquire the title to the homeowner’s property and agrees to permit the homeowner to use and occupy the property at an affordable rental price. The hope is that the renter will later be able to buy back their home from the sponsor. The funding will go to help maintain the home and pay for general upkeep.”

This legislation will not only help keep families in their homes, but it will also help maintain properties so that when the housing and financial crisis passes, we will have quality homes in New Jersey.”


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