New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced that the state will use $10 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support a state program to help some residents dealing with foreclosure stay in their homes.
The program was signed into law last March, and allows the state to buy eligible homes that are up for foreclosure and help residents stay by working with them to afford their mortgages. Or if the property is abandoned, the state can obtain the title and put the home back on the market.
Murphy said lawmakers created the program because of the serious financial strains the pandemic has put on many residents, through lost work or wages, which could leave many of them unable to pay their mortgages.
“These programs focus first and foremost on families facing foreclosure and working with them to keep them in their homes,” Murphy said during his weekly coronavirus briefing.
“It protects communities from being negatively impacted by the presence of an abandoned home,” he said.
Assembly Housing Committee Chair Yvonne Lopez (D-19) supported the move.
“The allocation of funding to support the [Foreclosure Prevention] Act is the first step toward implementing programs aimed at helping homeowners to better navigate the process, and possibly keep more residents in their homes with intervention,” Lopez said in a statement Wednesday.
According to a Philadelphia Inquirer report, Gloucester, Camden, and Burlington counties are considered some of the most “at-risk” housing markers in the nation. Each county has a relatively high rate of foreclosure filings in relation to other places in the U.S.
The average price for a single-family home in New Jersey last year was about $500,600, according to NJ.com.
New Jersey is also known to have one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation.