City defends program that seizes property of homeowners

Originally published in New York Amsterdam News on September 27, 2018.

A city program designed to seize distressed properties faces criticism after reports of homeowners being kicked out of their living spaces. But the city thinks the criticism is unjustified.

As reported in Kings County Politics, 69-year-old McConnell Dorce had his property seized by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development via the Third Party Transfer program. According to Dorce, he bought his four-unit East New York Property for $25,000 in 1975 and has long paid off the mortgage. The TPT program designates sponsors as partners with the city to buy and rehabilitate vacant, distressed or occupied multi-family properties to improve and preserve affordable housing.

New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery told the AmNews that the city needs to make sure it does what’s needed for owners to keep their homes.

“The City should be doing everything possible to make sure hardworking New Yorkers can stay in their homes and not finding ways to steal their property,” said Montgomery. “We need to know how many individuals have lost their homes to this program, when it happened, under what circumstances and in what neighborhoods. I urge our public advocate, borough president and City Council to take immediate action and fully investigate HPD’s actions so we can hold the city accountable.”

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