Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability

Empire Justice December 18, 2013

Homeownership is a cornerstone of the American Dream.  For those who achieve it, the home is as an asset that will provide stability and financial security for their families.  Numerous programs encourage individuals and families seeking a ladder to the middle class to invest in homeownership as a way to build equity, become a part of a community and to invest in the Dream.

Unfortunately, in New York State, that notion on is undermined by a law that requires homeowners to give a mortgage on their homes in exchange for receiving welfare benefits.  For these recipients, welfare is not a benefit but a loan, a virtually invisible debt that grows every month that they are on assistance and which silently drains the equity out of their homes for as long as they receive benefits.

Read the report

Check out the press release

County by County Chart

Advocates’ Tool Kit: pdf Word

Sample petition fillable pdf

Client Story: Don’t Lien on Me

Welfare Lien State Budget Flyer




Homeowners fight to end mortgage liens for those receiving public assistance – TWC News (December 18, 2013)

Empire Justice Center’s new report on public assistance mortgages – TWC News (December 18, 2013)

Advocates question ‘welfare liens’ – Times Union (December 18, 2013)