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Bill before New Jersey Assembly could help you keep your home

Multiple news reports have highlighted the fact that New Jersey is experiencing a surge in foreclosure filings. You may be one of thousands of homeowners in the state who is concerned about being able to keep your home. Help could be on the way, if a bill up for a vote in the State Assembly passes.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the sponsor of the bill, says the proposed law would add a surcharge of $800 on each foreclosure filed in New Jersey. That money would go into a trust fund managed by the Department of Community Affairs. Nonprofits that need funding to expand or maintain their programs would be given up to $10 million toward their efforts to prevent foreclosures.

It is no secret that foreclosures depress the value of homes in a given neighborhood. When a family loses their home, it affects more than just that family. An entire neighborhood can suffer. Eventually, this can cost the state millions of dollars.

This bill could raise millions of dollars to be spent preventing foreclosures in order to keep people in their homes and stabilize home values in our state's neighborhoods. If the bill passes and works as it is intended, homeowners that would otherwise lose their homes in foreclosure may have the opportunity to keep them. It is unclear, however, how this bill might help homeowners who already have a foreclosure filed against them.

If you are one of these people, it may still be possible to keep your home. While a bankruptcy is in progress, the foreclosure proceedings are stayed until the lender receives permission from the court to continue. Filing for bankruptcy could provide an opportunity to work with the lender by coming up with a repayment plan under the court's supervision, in addition to dealing with any other debt obligations. Bankruptcy may offer the opportunity to have your home, along with a fresh financial start.

Source: nj.com, Bill to help NJ families avoid foreclosures advances, Brendan McGrath, March 16, 2014

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