South Jamaica residents are well aware of the major problems of predatory lending (and who they target and who usually are the victims). To say modestly, dozens of Southeast Queens homeowners will lose their home this year because they won't be able to pay their mortgage. There will be a foreclosures forum this Tuesday at York College. We want to be homeowners, but we must do our homework. Read more about this neighborhood problem in the article below, as published in the Times Ledger this week.
SE Queens foreclosures set stage for York forum
By Craig Giammona
The white piece of paper on the desk in front of state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) tells a troubling story. Labeled "Foreclosure Patterns - 2006," the map is of Queens County and the dots, each representing a mortgage default, are tightly clustered in her district, which comprises a large swath of southeast Queens.
There were foreclosures throughout the borough in 2006, the map shows. But in areas of America's most diverse county, where the population is more than 50 percent black or Hispanic, the problem is particularly severe.
Outside of southeast Queens, there is dense pack of red dots in Corona on the 2006 map."People go basically and buy homes they can't afford," Huntley said. "I'm not saying they're not smart, but they're not experts in this area and they're taken advantage of."The issue of foreclosures has risen to the forefront in Queens in the last few months, shining a light on the so-called predatory mortgage brokers and real estate agents that many believe are fueling the problem.
The Website PropertyShark.com released a report in April indicating that foreclosures had skyrocketed in Queens during the first three months of 2007. In fact, the report said that more homes had been sold at auction in Queens than in the four other boroughs combined during the first quarter.In addition, PropertyShark, an online clearinghouse for real estate information, said of the 20 zip codes in New York City with the most foreclosures for January through May, 16 were in Queens and 12 were in 114, an area that includes Jamaica, Hollis, Laurelton, St. Albans, Cambria Heights and Queens Village.
Overall there were 554 foreclosures in the first three month of 2007 in New York and 319 were in Queens. "Something needs to be done," Huntley said, acknowledging that she is still working to determine the best route for lawmakers to take in combatting the problem.
The first step will be a town hall meeting at York College on May 31 that will bring together several state and city agencies for a discussion with area politicians, including Huntley and Councilmen Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).The office of Queen District Attorney Richard Brown and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will also be represented, Huntley said.
The event will take place at York's Performing Arts Center at 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and is scheduled to being at 6:30 p.m.Reach reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©Times Ledger 2007