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Fair,82°
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Help for first-time home buyers
By Jimin Kim
Jimin Kim/Herald
John Sarcone told residents how they could receive foreclosure assistance and CDBG grants from Nassau County

The Nassau County’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) and the Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) provided advice tailored to residents facing foreclosure and first-time home buyers at the Lakeview Public Library on June 18. The seminar also cautioned locals of loan scams and how to navigate the county and federal bureaucracy to rehabilitate abandoned homes.

Siela Bynoe, Nassau County legislator for the Second District hosted the event.

John Sarcone, director of OHCD, informed the attendees about his office’s various services, which are free to Nassau County residents. OHCD administers federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In partnership with the Nassau Bar Association, OHCD provides free legal assistance and home ownership counseling once per month. Also, the Emergency Solutions Grant assists qualified applicants facing eviction by supplying a rental deposit and covering moving expenses.

Through a partnership with LIHP, OHCD provides a $20,000 grant for first-time home buyers. According to HUD, anyone who has never owned a home or hasn’t purchased one in three years is classified as a first-time home buyer. Applications for the first-time home buyer grant are currently closed, but the next round of grants will re-open in the fall.

Sarcone also warned residents of loan scams and predatory lenders.

“Before I was the Director of Housing, I was actually a home ownership counselor and to see individuals come in with interest rates at 18, 19 percent, I couldn’t-I didn’t even believe it,” Sarcone said. “There was a lot of predatory lending, there was a lot of shady activity and it was very shocking to see.”

Individuals who suspect they are victims of predatory lending should contact the Loan Modification Scam Alert at 1-888-995-HOPE.

Beatrice Bayley, president of the Lakeview branch of the NAACP, was concerned about the large number of abandoned homes drawing crime to the neighborhood.

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