By Gregory Anderson, President & CEO of Bridge Street Development Corporation
Good morning, my name is Gregory Anderson and I am the President & CEO of Bridge Street Development Corporation in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn.
For many years, Bridge Street has conducted outreach to property owners on the lien sale list in an effort to preserve homeownership by the residents of our community. And for many years, as a direct result of the tax lien sale, the rate of homeownership by black and brown people in our community has continued to decline.
The lien sale has served as motivation and incentive for deed theft and scammers that have preyed on our community, particularly elderly homeowners. In the outreach to property owners on the lien sale list it has become clear that predatory investors have already positioned themselves to initiate foreclosure, become vulture buyers and circumvent the rightful transfer of property to family members.
The lien sale has become a magnet for fraud because while the City is focused on recouping an average lien of $15,000, the scammers are focused on the value of our property, which is likely to average in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As the lien sale has historically had a disproportionately adverse effect on Black and Hispanic homeowners, this lien sale, in the midst of a pandemic, will have a devastating impact in the communities that have been hardest hit economically by COVID-19.
At a time when the Administration and Council have implemented several programs and actions to address the racial income and wealth gap, the City should not continue a fiscal and financial practice that only intensifies the wealth gap. The tax lien sale should be cancelled and we look forward to working with the City to develop alternative solutions that address both sides of this issue.
Stop the Tax Lien Sale...