After a Series of Setbacks, Homeowner Finds a Blessing

Pamela Litzsey-Thomas, Niagara Falls

For Pamela Litzsey-Thomas, going into foreclosure on her Niagara Falls home was another in a series of financial setbacks. “I just kept feeling like I was being slapped in the face,” she said. But Litzsey-Thomas refused to give up the house where she lived with her young son, even as her attempts to obtain a loan modification were frustrated.

After taking medical leave because of a difficult pregnancy in 2011, she was laid off from her job upon returning to work; temporary jobs weren’t enough to patch together a sustainable income. She could not get caught up and was impossibly behind on her mortgage.

Like hundreds of homeowners across the state, help finally came from the Center for NYC Neighborhoods: she turned to our New York State Mortgage Assistance Program.

“When the MAP program came along, I was like, ‘Wow.’ I said, ‘Okay, that was my blessing, my godsend, after all my patience,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about where we are going to sleep. I don’t have to worry about that. I have weathered the storm.”

In June 2012, Litzsey-Thomas fell into further financial difficulties when she was struck by a bus and had to undergo intensive surgeries. Her physician told her she would be unable to return to work. Her family’s income is now limited to her Department of Social Services benefits, but she is able to afford her mortgage and bills now in part thanks to the help from the Center and its partners.

In 2014, the Office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman helped develop and support the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program, funded through bank settlements, to keep families out of foreclosure, turning to the Center to ensure the funds were distributed to those most in need. In less than three years of operation, the program has loaned $18 million to homeowners and prevented more than 650 foreclosures.

Litzsey-Thomas secured a loan through the program in 2015 that helped her to reinstate her affordable mortgage after receiving help from Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western New York, Inc.

For Litzsey-Thomas, getting the loan was transformational. “I can breathe again,” she says.

Have you missed mortgage payments or are behind on property taxes?

The New York State Mortgage Assistance Program may be able to help. Contact us at 855-NYSMAP-3 to learn more.