(Long Island, NY) Long Island homeowners and advocates gathered at the home of New York Communities for Change member Charles Pollydore, a homeowner from Hempstead on the brink of homelessness. Mr. Pollydore and other community residents moved out furniture from Mr. Pollydore’s home into his lawn representing his possible homeless future if Gov. Cuomo does not allocate settlement money to the victims of fraudulent loans.
Surrounded by neighbors and activists, Charles spoke directly to the governor and showed him the future for thousands of homeowners if there is no help in the governor’s budget for homeowners next week. While he spoke, neighbors and activists sat on the pavement “homeless” while “movers” removed furniture from Charles’ home. Other homeowners from Long Island who are facing a similar future joined Charles in his plea and called for help for low-income homeowners from across the state who are on the brink of homelessness because of the financial collapse precipitated by predatory loans from the big banks.
Victims of the financial crisis showcase their homeless future if Gov does not use major settlements from banks to help homeowners. Photo Credit: New York Communities for Change.
Homeowners were severely harmed by both the cause of the economic meltdown – predatory loans issued and illegal actions undertaken by big banks – and its effects, as housing prices plummeted and families found themselves owing more on their mortgages than what their homes were worth. The federal and New York State governments stepped up and sued big banks for their mistreatment of homeowners during the financial crisis; the Attorney General won a whopping $1 billion dollars in settlements in cash from three settlements. Of that, $820 million remain, including $430 million from JP Morgan Chase, $300 million from Bank of America, and $90 million from Citibank. Recently, the state Department of Financial Services also reached a settlement with Ocwen, securing an additional $100 million in cash last December, making $920 million the total amount of cash available for New York State has to help homeowners.
While Governor Cuomo announced yesterday his plans to give $1.5 billion from the larger $5 billion surplus to upstate cities, he has been silent about using the money from banks settlement to help the victims of fraudulent mortgages. Homeowners emphasized that they need the settlement money to stabilize their lives, and stabilize their neighborhoods.
“The Governor is elected to serve and protect all New Yorkers,” Pollydore said. “So why is he giving our money away to Wall Street bankers, who caused this whole mess in the first place? Who gets to bail me out in my time of need? The Governor should give homeowners back what was taken from us and not just our homes, but our lives.”
“Big Banks have cheated our communities by selling predatory loans which robbed us our homes and devastated our families. Homeowners in our communities need that money to stabilize their lives, just as we need to stabilize our neighborhoods. We call on homeowners and their neighbors to sign our petition to the Governor; tell him to do the right thing and use the settlement money to save our homes,” added Diane Goins, the President of the Long Island Chapter of New York Communities for Change.
The homeowners also launched a petition along with New York Communities for Change, calling on Governor Cuomo to not cheat homeowners. The petition is available here.