Is Chris Christie doing enough to help residents of New Jersey stave off foreclosure? A new report from WABC’s Jim Hoffer suggests the answer might be “no.”
In 2011, New Jersey accepted $300 million in federal money to start the Homekeeper Program, which would, as its website advertises, promote “neighborhood stability in New Jersey communities by providing financial assistance to eligible homeowners in danger of foreclosure.”
More from WABC reporter Jim Hoffer:
So why has New Jersey been so slow to get the money to families? Eyewitness News put the question to Governor Christie.
“Why has it taken so long, more than a year to get the money out to families?” Hoffer asked.
“Because the courts placed a moratorium on foreclosures,” Governor Christie answered.
“No the dispersing of the money. The $300 million?” Hoffer asked.
“The courts placed a moratorium on foreclosures so our policy was put on hold, waiting to see what the courts were ultimately going to do regarding foreclosure. And that’s why we haven’t moved any more quickly than we have already,” Governor Christie answered.
“The moratorium did not stop other states from helping families already facing foreclosure.” Hoffer said.
When Hoffer tried to press the Governor on this, it’s clear he had no real answer.
“Governor, this is an issue facing the state, why are you blowing it off?” Hoffer asked.
“Michael, please help me ignore him, go ahead,” Christie said.
“A lot of people facing foreclosure,” Hoffer said.
While the governor refuses to answer, families face losing their homes as the denial letters keep coming.
“What did you think when you got that denial letter?” Hoffer asked.
“It really set me back to hear that I was denied,” Celeste Wright said.
Eyewitness News tried for a month to get an interview with the head of the state agency that oversees the foreclosure funds, but they declined our requests.
A spokesperson says new reforms are being implemented that will ease qualification requirements and speed up the application process.