CNYC
Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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CNYC Outlook

Published: Spring 2014

NEW YORK AND BEYOND

In today's shrinking world, many issues that CNYC pursues are also important to cooperatives or condominiums outside of New York. And when we seek national legislation or regulations, it is helpful to have broad support. Many CNYC members support the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC), the Washington, DC based organization that brings co-op issues to Congress or to Federal agencies (see page 15). Similarly, CNYC's condominium members or the professionals who serve them are often members of the Community Associations Institute, a parallel organization for condominiums and homeowner associations. The nationwide memberships of NAHC and CAI can bring diverse grass roots support for our goals. Following are three major issues important to us here in New York, but also important nationally.

FEMA GRANTS FOR COOPERATIVES AND CONDOMINIUMS
After tropical storm Sandy, we learned to our dismay that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide grants ONLY to individuals for the restoration of homes devastated by disaster. Co-op shareholders and condo unit owners received FEMA grants to restore the inside of their apartments, but the buildings in which these apartments were located were NOT eligible for FEMA grants to replace destroyed boilers, or electrical wiring eroded by salt water, or roofs torn off by the storm. In Congress, legislation has been passed requiring FEMA to explore this issue and suggest remedies. In addition, Representative Steve Israel has legislation to add cooperative corporations and condominium associations to those entities that are eligible for FEMA grants.

REVERSE MORTGAGES FOR COOPERATIVES
Reverse mortgages, properly used, can provide funds to enable older seniors in houses or in condominiums to live on in their homes, which might otherwise have become unaffordable to them. Several years ago, there were companies that made reverse mortgages to shareholders of cooperative apartments, but these companies no longer exist, and many seniors are being forced to sell the cooperatives in order to have funds for their final years. In 2000, Congress has passed legislation authorizing reverse mortgage in housing cooperatives, but most lenders are reluctant to make these long term loans if they cannot then sell the loans into the secondary market. HUD was charged with writing regulations for reverse mortgages in housing cooperatives. These regulation would establish parameters for saleable loans, and would likely be the necessary catalyst for coop reverse mortgages. Despite the passage of many years, no regulations appear to be forthcoming from HUD. CNYC and NAHC are collecting brief accounts from individuals who need reverse mortgages to stay on in their cooperatives. Please send your story to info@CNYC.coop.

VETERANS BENEFITS TO BUY INTO COOPERATIVES
The US thanks its veterans for their service by providing low interest loans when they wish to purchase homes. Homes in houses or in condominiums, that is, because the Veterans Administration does not help veterans who wanted to make their homes in cooperatives (this despite the fact that the nation's most successful affordable housing program ever was the Section 213 program of the 1950s that created cooperative housing nationwide for veterans returning from World War II and the Korean War). When Representative Carolyn Maloney went to Congress, one of her goals was to rectify this situation, "A home is a home is a home," she insisted, But even when her legislation was finally enacted in 2006, the Veterans Administration did not publicize the opportunity to veterans and it further encumbered the legislation with restrictions including prohibiting the purchase of homes in limited equity cooperatives (precisely what those Section 213 cooperatives were!!!). Congress member Maloney has new legislation to make eligibility permanent and to eliminate past restrictions.

 

 
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