To fight foreclosure, NYC buying mortgages

NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York City is taking a novel approach to addressing enduring pockets of the home foreclosure crisis. It’s buying long-unpaid mortgages, with plans to help owners stay in their homes, if possible, or use the properties as affordable housing, if not.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (BLAH’-zee-oh) and other officials are announcing the $13 million program Thursday. Details of the program were provided to The Associated Press ahead of a planned afternoon announcement.

So far, the effort involves 24 properties, containing a total of 41 homes and apartments.

Officials say the cost includes millions in reserve for repairs that may not be required. They hope to expand the project.

Officials say New York is among the first cities to pursue buying such mortgages directly from federal housing officials.

Housing advocates have pressed the federal government to make it easier for cities and non-profit groups to buy troubled mortgages.