On August 3, 2023, the City Council voted to pass a bill to establish an Office of the Homeowner Advocate. The bill, Int. 398-A, was sponsored by Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers.
The new office will be within the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The office will assist homeowners in connecting with relevant agencies, city services, community based organizations, legal services organizations, and other supportive services. The office will also provide training for homeowners on topics such as property management, renting, mortgage relief, handling lead paint, foreclosure prevention, and finances connected to property ownership. The office will create public campaigns about the rights and responsibilities of homeowners.
The office will also be required to provide an annual report about the number of inquiries received and actions taken by the office. The report will include recommendations for free and low-cost services that are not currently available that may benefit homeowners in the city.
Council Member Brooks-Powers stated, “Homeownership has long been a vehicle for Americans to build wealth. But for low-income New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color, investing in a home – and keeping it, such that a family can build equity over generations – has scarcely been harder than it is today. We need to invest in homeownership, such that New Yorkers know the City has their back. That is why I’m proud to sponsor Introduction 384 to create the Office of the Homeowner Advocate to provide support and resources to homeowners and create public awareness campaigns about their rights and responsibilities. I look forward to working with the administration to expand resources for homeowners in communities like mine – and making the American Dream more accessible here in New York City.”
CC: Stated Meeting, Int. 398-A, Aug. 3, 2023.
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)