Foreclosure Crisis Slams Elmont Neighborhoods
The Elmont community has been slammed with a rash of homes that are entering or have been foreclosed as a result mortgage defaults. The crisis has hit neighborhoods throughout the community and is estimated to grow during the summer and fall months. Over 300 homes have been impacted. Many homes are set to be auctioned while others are in the foreclosure process.
The crisis has hit neighborhoods indiscriminately. Neighborhoods surrounding the Clara H. Carlson school have been hit the hardest with over 87 homes in the foreclosure process. The Dutch Broadway neighborhoods are second with 71, Gotham Avenue area with 69, Alden Terrace with 52, Covert Avenue with 36 homes in crisis.
“The economy is having a direct impact on the crisis and Elmont is not immune,” said Elmont East End Civic Association President Patrick Nicolosi adding, “the local economy has been struggling over the years with high property taxes and underemployment. I’m not surprised that this has happened but it’s another reason why we need economic development at Belmont and Hempstead Turnpike. We need to relieve property taxes.”
The foreclosure crisis has been a real strain on local neighborhoods. Residents are clearly frustrated with dilapidated homes not being kept up to code. Mallory Thomas is very frustrated by the impact foreclosures are having on the value of homes. “Foreclosures are killing the value of our homes. I want to know how some of these ‘owners’ are able to get a mortgage. They can’t pay and the house looks terrible. It’s not fair to those of us who work so hard to deal with this.”
The Elmont School District is also concerned about the impact of the crisis. Elmont School Board President Michael Jaime noted, “It’s of major concern that families are in such peril and how this will ultimately effect the education of students and the tax base.”
According to William Rogers and William Winter who are the authors of “The Impact of Foreclosures on Neighboring Housing Sales,” Elmont property owners could see further erosion of house prices if the housing market slows down. “Housing foreclosures likely have little neighborhood impact if there are few foreclosures in a neighborhood and the foreclosed housing can resell quickly. However, when there are many foreclosures along with a sluggish housing market, foreclosures can lead to neighborhood destabilization, which should cause house prices to further fall.”
Foreclosures in the Elmont community have been steady and have hit neighborhoods more harshly during specific time periods. According to an analysis developed for the Bulletin, neighborhoods in the Locustwood-Gotham and Parkhurst communities saw a significant spike in foreclosure during a three year cycle ending in 2015. The Dutch Broadway community appears to have a steady increase of properties in stress from 2014 to present time period. A spike in foreclosures has hit the Carlson area recently with a ripple effect in the Jamaica Square Civic neighborhoods.
Sandra Smith, Chair of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development Committee, noted that the housing market continues to be brisk in Elmont neighborhoods. “Elmont is lucky in that we have such strong school districts. We also have nice parks and a true residential feel to our neighborhood. What we really need to stabilize the area is economic development and support for our business community so that we stabilize local taxes. Our elected officials need to help us instead of hosting protests for any idea that comes to the table. We need to change our mindset and promote Elmont positively instead of through programs like shot spotter that label our community negatively. We have to change our attitudes towards creating jobs and sustainable economic development. It’s part of the key to stopping this crisis.”
The Nassau County Bar Association has taken proactive action to help stem the tide of foreclosure in many communities. The Bar has hosted foreclosure seminars to assist homeowners in stress. According the Bar, NCBA volunteer attorneys meet one-on-one with homeowners who are then referred for additional help for mortgage modifications, loan restructuring, bankruptcy, financial planning assistance, services for lower income households or emotional support. Many of these resources and agencies are available immediately. Resources cited by the Bar include American Debt Resources, LI Housing Partnership, La Fuerza Unida, and LI Housing Services.
Community members are hoping that recent proposals for the development of Belmont will help alleviate the crisis and give a much needed shock to the local economy. “If we can promote quality economic development that builds upon Elmont’s educated workforce, location and resources we have the ability to change the narrative to this crisis. What it takes is commitment from our elected leaders and support from the community,” Smith concluded.