Experts worry the stream of home foreclosures that started months after Hurricane Sandy may turn into a flood and has not-for profits scrambling to try to help people save their homes. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Hurricane Sandy's flood water severely damaged Patricia Joseph's Canarsie home and almost destroyed her finances.
"This situation took it away took all my savings away," Joseph said.
She says she spent $50,000 on repairs. The storm washed out her two rental apartments and washed away the income from her tenants. The divorced mother of two fell behind in her mortgage and her lender tried to put her in foreclosure.
"I just broke down it was frustrating," Joseph said.
Joseph is not alone. According to the non profit Center for New York City Neighborhoods, in the last year, more than a thousand families got served with foreclosure papers in the hardest hit neighborhoods.
"Foreclosure activity in the five boroughs is up 33 percent compared to the same time period a year ago," said Realtytrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.
Blomquist says Queens has seen the largest increase and attributes a big part of the cause to Hurricane Sandy.
"The cost of damage is exceeding what they're getting in insurance and so it really makes financial sense not to keep holding on to their properties," Blomquist said.
"It was an immediate sort of snow ball right after the Sandy storm hit," said Bernell Grier of Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC.
Grier's non profit supports homeowners who are behind on their mortgages.
"We're trying our best to keep people in their properties," Grier said.
Grier is helping Patricia Joseph by negotiating a loan modification.
"I love my house that's why I'm doing all this to keep my house," Joseph said.
Joseph says her lender wouldn't even consider a modification at first, but with the help of several non profits she caught up on her mortgage, had her apartments repaired and has new tenants and new hope.
"My thing is...there's help out there, go and get it," Joseph said.
Despite her success, Realtytrac estimates many more families may go into foreclosure and eventually lose their homes, meaning things will get worse for the city before they get better.