New Jersey remains among the states with the highest foreclosure rates in the country. Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake authored a bill to create equity in the foreclosure process by helping residents to be more competitive during sheriff sales.
This bill titled the “Community Wealth Preservation Program,” will allow families to purchase at the sheriff’s sale with a 3.5% down payment instead of 20%. It also increases the time for families to pay the remaining balance from 30 to 90 business days. The bill provides a lane to finance the home at a sheriff’s sale, a process currently dominated by cash buyers with deep pockets.
“This bill addresses structural change in the foreclosure process that has resulted in the hemorrhaging of generational wealth and NJ leading the USA in foreclosures. For centuries, businesses have owned most black and brown communities and have recently begun owning many residential homes in suburban neighborhoods. This bill gives New Jersey residents who may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars cash on hand a chance to capture a home at the sale and to live in a neighborhood they know and love. It also indirectly encourages banks to offer better solutions to keep people in their homes before foreclosure. It also creates a new line of mortgage lending for banks as they currently finance less than 1% of sheriff sales. I am asking Governor Phil Murphy to stand with me as he has in the past, along with over 150 organizations in support of minimizing the racial wealth gap and the foreclosure stats by fully signing this bill into law,” said Assemblywoman Timberlake.
Timberlake, the bill’s primary author, began to pen this law four years ago when first sworn into the Assembly.
At the press conference, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the President of the Urban Mayor’s Association,clearly stated, “This bill allows residents to hold onto their wealth which is particularly important given the large wealth gap in the state of New Jersey.” Currently, the City of Newark has 77 homes listed for sale in foreclosure.
“It’s important for us to recognize the fact that homeownership is one of the biggest assets that we will accumulate in our lifetime, and any effort to preserve homeownership and generational wealth should be supported,” said Mayor Adrian Mapp of Plainfield, Vice President of the Urban Mayor’s Association.
“We are urging our Governor and delegation to stand behind Assemblywoman Timberlake to make sure that this bill is signed into law,” East Orange Mayor Ted Greenstated.
Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren said, “This bill gives people a leg up to compete in the bidding process against corporate buying of properties.”
“It is so important that we work to ensure that community members have the tools to stay in their homes,” said Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw.
Larry Hamm, CEO of the People’s Organization for Progress was there taking a stance for the other 150 organizations in support said, “This bill gives people who are facing foreclosure every opportunity possible to hold onto their homes. There is no other event outside an act of physical violence more devastating to see than someone being evicted from their home.”
Assemblywoman Timberlake has met with the Governor’s team members several times. She has often offered to address the Governor’s concerns in a clean-up bill that she drafted with various stakeholders for and against the bill over the summer. She asks for the clean-up bill to go into effect on the same day as the original bill. Currently, the bill remains on Governor Murphy’s desk awaiting his decision to either sign the bill and work with her on this clean-up bill or veto the bill conditionally. Supporters and sponsors of the bill believe a conditional veto will likely cause the bill to die in the legislature due to special corporate interest lobbying efforts against the bill. In contrast, a clean-up bill would benefit all parties for and against the bill.