Westchester Agency Offers Help To Seniors Threatened With Tax Foreclosure

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The Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. will offer help for those with property tax problems at a free workshop, July 15.
The Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. will offer help for those with property tax problems at a free workshop, July 15. Photo Credit: Daily Voice

GREENBURGH, N.Y.  -- The Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. will host a free workshop for any Westchester resident who is having a hard time paying property taxes or mortgage Tuesday, July 15, at the Greenburgh Town Hall from 6 - 7:30 p.m.

According to Jane Landau, WRO director of Senior Housing, the Greenburgh Property Tax and Mortgage Counseling event is meant to assist those who may be in danger of foreclosure due to tax problems.

“Many seniors who are behind on their taxes don’t understand that property tax foreclosure puts them in jeopardy of losing their homes and often their entire net worth," Landau said. "There are government programs that help with mortgage default, but are non-government programs to assist homeowners in property tax default as there are with mortgage default."

Landau said WRO is the only housing agency in Westchester that does both free property tax foreclosure and mortgage foreclosure counseling.

"We are confident that through this counseling we can prevent many more seniors across Westchester County from becoming homeless and losing their financial security," Landau said.

The town of Greenburgh is in the process of foreclosing on properties that are behind on their property taxes. Many seniors who are behind on their taxes may not know that property tax foreclosure puts them in jeopardy of losing their homes, and the entire equity in their homes as well – even if they owe only a small amount. Additionally, many homeowners are not getting all the property tax exemptions they are entitled to, according to WRO.

Working in Partnership with the Yonkers Office for the Aging and Hunter College Graduate School of Urban Affairs and Planning, WRO spearheaded an initiative to help Yonkers seniors at risk of losing their homes to property tax foreclosure. Funded by grants from the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and Jarvie Commonweal Service in December 2011, WRO reaches out to Yonkers seniors who are behind in their property taxes.

"At WRO, our counselors utilize all the tools at their disposal to resolve older adults’ tax arrears, foreclosure, including modifications, repayment plans, short sales, reverse mortgages, reverse mortgages, bankruptcy, sales of the homes, and, when there were mortgage arrears as well as tax arrears, negotiating with with the lenders or municipalities on behalf of  homeowners. to pay the taxes," Landau said.

WRO counselors help identify tax exemptions for which homeowners are eligible, but are not may not be claiming, including the N.Y. Senior Citizen’s Exemption and the Veteran’s Exemption.This often results in significant savings. reductions in their monthly expenses, according to WRO.

Those with questions may contact Jane Lindau, Director of Senior Housing, at 914-428-4507 ext. 313 or jlindau@wroinc.org.

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