STAMFORD, Conn. — State Rep. William Tong, a candidate for mayor, started his Friday morning at the Stamford home of Cheryl Richter to discuss how new state legislation will help her modify her home loan and move through the mediation process.
Richter told Tong, state Sen. Carlo Leone, (D-36th District of Stamford and Darien), Rey Giallongo, chief executive officer and president of First County Bank, and her attorney Jon Hoffman, how she had lost her job in 2006 and fell into trouble paying off her mortgage in 2008. She added that she had to supply the bank with plenty of information to modify her loan and that everything she did was being examined.
“The whole thing is very degrading. You’re made to feel like you are not a good person,” said Richter, mother of a 16-year-old.
As bad as that was, she said the worst part was reaching out for information on the process from the bank and not hearing back. “You are walking around waiting for the noose to tighten,” Richter said.
“That is intolerable,” said Tong, who is Richter’s state representative.
He added that the legislation that he and Leone helped to become law will help speed the process and improve things for the borrower and the banks. He also believes that the city can do more, specifically by creating a resident advocate position for people to call when they are in need of help, and the social services department can focus more on getting resources for people.
In the first half of this year, 238 families in Stamford entered the foreclosure process. The state is fourth in the country in the number of homes in foreclosure, Tong said.
Friday’s event was the third stop on Tong’s 2020 Listening Tour, in which he is meeting with people and groups to discuss their problems. He offers ways he would help solve them if he were to be elected mayor.
Tong will face off against Board of Finance Member David Martin in the Democratic primary on Sept. 10. The winner will then run against Republican candidate former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, petitioning candidate John Zito and Independent Kathleen Murphy in November.