Tag Archives: Commissioner Mathew Wambua

Help for Home Owners


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The city is aiming to restore the homeownership hopes of Queens residents hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew Wambua joined Queens elected officials, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the New York Mortgage Coalition on November 15 to announce the commencement of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) Buyer Assistance Program.

The program, which targets areas in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, grants qualified homebuyers with as much as $80,000 in forgivable loans towards the purchase of foreclosed or vacant homes in eligible neighborhoods. Housing counseling and homeowner training will also be provided for participants as part of the program.

“HUD’s investment in New York City via the NSP2 program is a key component in Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to help reverse the deleterious effects of foreclosure on our neighborhoods,” said Steel. “The single-family foreclosure crisis has significantly impacted neighborhoods across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and stabilizing these communities is critical to New York City’s economic recovery. HPD’s efforts in securing this funding and working with the NY Mortgage Coalition in creating this initiative will help make homes affordable for qualified buyers looking to put down roots in these neighborhoods.”

After the creation of NSP2, HPD assessed the level of foreclosure activity in each eligible census area between 2007 and 2009. During their study, the department determined that roughly 8,133 total mortgages were in danger of foreclosure, 5,780 of which were in Queens.

Eligible neighborhoods were selected by HUD based on the severity to which they were adversely impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Jackson Heights, Corona, the Rockways, Bellerose, Rosedale, Howard Beach, Jamaica and South Ozone Park are the Queens communities eligible for the program.

“The NSP has been able to help stabilize housing prices and neighborhoods in Queens,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, who represents Jamaica and Rosedale. “Having worked with constituents and with non-profits in the borough, I have seen firsthand how this program helped counsel new homeowners, preserve the quality of life within the community, and give us a fighting chance against the foreclosure crisis, which makes me glad to see it will continue.”

Prospective homebuyers who hope to participate in the Buyer Assistance Program cannot have an income in excess of 120 percent of the Area Median Income. They are also required to receive a minimum of eight hours of homeownership counseling and the foreclosed or vacant home must become the participant’s primary residence.

“Investing in our neighborhoods is essential if we are to preserve them,” said Wambua. “NSP helps us to educate and empower families, allowing those who qualify to make affordable investments in areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island that have borne the brunt of small home foreclosures.”

Heating season begins


| rcasiano@queenscourier.com

As temperatures dip, the city is making sure that Queens apartment dwellers stay nice and toasty.

Heating season kicked off on Saturday, October 1, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is urging landlords in Queens and throughout the city to provide adequate heat in their residential buildings.

HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua defended residents’ rights to basic services such as heat and hot water in their homes.

“If their landlords aren’t taking action to provide heat, they should call 3-1-1 immediately. All heat complaints are investigated,” Wambua said.

Heating season runs through May 31. The city has released guidelines for tenants and landlords of residential buildings:

When the temperatures fall below 55 degrees between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., apartments must be heated to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., building owners must heat apartments to 55 degrees when temperatures dip below 40 degrees. Hot water is required to be maintained at 120 degrees.

The Astoria Restoration Association is doing its part to help out during heating season.

The housing advocacy group is assisting Queens residents in applying for heat and federal financial assistance with their heating bill, a representative said.

During last year’s heating season, Queens filed 483 cases of heat and hot water problems, out of 3,581 cases reported citywide, according to HPD.

If you have any heating-related concerns, call 3-1-1.