No one is immune from falling behind on their bills. Around 3,000 properties in the city of Buffalo were put on this year’s foreclosure auction list.
That’s why this week, local community law centers have been working to help people keep their homes.
"We get phone calls from all over. All types of demographics, multi-family, single individuals, young, elderly, it can affect anyone. It just takes one circumstance to put you in a situation," said Valdora Estridge, a staff attorney with the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Connie Joyce, WNY Law Center Community Outreach Coordinator, added, "The city will work with us. They don't want to kick people out of their homes. They want Buffalo to be happening for everyone, not just developers.”
“We take any age, any income right now. Anyone that comes in and wants assistance, we can help,” said Rachel Schepart, a paralegal with the Center of Elder Law & Justice Staff.
They’ve been meeting with Buffalo homeowners all week at County Hall to help them negotiate payment plans with the city and apply for low- or no-interest loans.
"We ask for a certain number in a down payment. The down payment is going to be due this Friday. So just keep that in mind,” said Rashied H. McDuffie, assistant corporation counsel with the city. “I bring up that point not to scare you, but whatever that number is, make sure that you can achieve that in a few days from now. And then what we do is 20 monthly payments, and those payments start in December. They will take you out to August of 2020. We make this as affordable as we can.”
City officials say of the 3,000 properties on the list, they’ve already worked out deals to save hundreds from foreclosure. They say by the time the auction starts Monday, they anticipate 1,700 homes will be up for sale.
City officials say last year the auction netted $10 million but they emphasize that the money goes to pay only what is owed in taxes and fees. What’s leftover is available for the homeowner or lien holder to take back. Registration for the auction starts Monday at 7:30 at the convention center. The sale runs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
For anyone in need of help with foreclosure issues, local attorneys are available at the Erie County Courthouse at 25 Delaware Avenue between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, offering free help to work out deals with the city.