To fight foreclosure, NYC buying mortgages

NEW YORK — New York City is taking a novel approach to addressing enduring pockets of the home-foreclosure crisis by buying long-unpaid mortgages, with plans to help owners stay in their homes if possible or use the properties as affordable housing if not, officials say.

It’s among the first cities to pursue buying such loans directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, officials say. Housing advocates and some lawmakers have pressed HUD to make it easier for cities and nonprofit groups, as opposed to investors, to buy troubled mortgages.

New York announced the $13 million program Thursday. So far, the program involves just 24 properties, containing a total of 41 homes and apartments. Officials say the cost includes millions in reserve for repairs that may not be required, and they cast the program as an experiment they hope to expand.

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