ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — For homeowners unable to keep up with their mortgages, property taxes, or even user fees, the day of reckoning is at hand. New York’s foreclosure moratorium expires next month, and if they don’t take action, their piece of the American Dream could turn into a nightmare.

As of Jan. 15, New York’s foreclosure moratorium will be over, banks will be free to takeover delinquent mortgages, leaving homeowners and their families facing the real possibility of losing their life’s greatest asset — their home. But the state is stepping in, in a big way.

“The money was available and New York State is the first in the nation to be approved for this,” said Governor Kathy Hochul.

New York, the first state in America to get the okay for a Homeowner Assistance Fund, more than a half billion dollars to help homeowners stay in their homes

“These are for people who are homeowners who are in a forbearance plan, who fell behind on their mortgages,” Hochul added. “Also those who were not offered forbearance, they were just told that they are losing their home.”

And Hochul says the Homeowner Assistance Program covers mortgages and property tax arrears.

“Homeowners in manufactured homes can use this money for lot rent, or their retail installment contracts if they are behind on those payments,” said Amy Gathings, an attorney for the Western New York Law Center. “Homeowners who have condo fees or homeowner association fees that can lead to foreclosure can also use this money.”

The law center is offering to help homeowners in these times of trouble. Gathings told News 4, census figures show, mortgage delinquencies are rising at a very high level.

“This program, the timing is really important so that homeowners can seek help as soon as possible and trying to avoid and having a foreclosure filed,” she said.

Homeowners can qualify for as much $50,000 for keeping their homes, but the program is income-based.. household income cannot exceed $79,900. The Western New York Law Center is also conducting a virtual information session at 6:30 p.m. Monday. For exact details, call the office at (716) 855-0203, extension 107.

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