New York state has collected hundreds of millions of dollars over the years in fines from banks who broke the law, including some big settlements related to the housing crisis. And then the state gave some of that money to organizations that help homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing counseling and legal services.
In addition to keeping people in their homes, this also means fewer zombie properties: empty houses owned by banks that often fall into disrepair and hurt property values in the neighborhood.
Now, the settlement funds are starting to dry up. But advocates say the need for these services is still strong. So they want the state to commit to new funding.
Kirsten Keefe from the Empire Justice Center and Kristen McManus of AARP New York explain.