Members of the Fresh Creek Civic Association (FCCA) held their monthly meeting on Saturday afternoon, February 25th during which they discussed an array of important issues, including deed theft, women’s health and transportation issues.
FCCA President Maria Garrett invited the Honorable Sherveal Mimes to advise the group on deed theft, which has become an extremely pervasive issue in Brooklyn. The judge explained these scam artists often prey upon homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments and those who are already in default or foreclosure. They may contact the homeowner and offer them a sum of money and assistance in modifying a loan or stopping a foreclosure, but require that the homeowner sign the deed over to them first. Once the scammer holds the deed and takes ownership of the house, they can evict the true homeowner and rent or sell the property or even borrow against it. Mimes advised the group to never sign over or adjust a deed without consulting an attorney first and explained that putting property in a trust provides an added layer of protection.
Another common and far less preventable method that scammers use is forgery – simply put, they forge the homeowner’s signature on the deed and file it with the County Clerk to take ownership. Homeowners can protect themselves by opting into the Recorded Document Notification Program to receive alerts about any legal changes, like ownership of their property at a836-acrissds.nyc.gov.NRD. They are also encouraged to contact the Department of Finance at nyc.gov/finance if they stop receiving property tax and water bills and log into nyc.gov/acris annually to see if someone has filed a deed or mortgage on their property.
There was also a very informative presentation on HIV given by William Chambers from the Caribbean Women’s Health Association. Chambers gave the group an in-depth look at how the disease has disproportionately affected communities of color and invited everyone to take advantage of a wide range of resources including HIV rapid and at-home test kits, STD/STI testing, HIV medication counseling, educational workshops and support groups for women regardless of their status. He encouraged the community to reach out for assistance by contacting his office, located at 3512 Church Avenue, at (929) 399-8070.
The group also discussed some of the proposed changes to the B103 bus route, which would discontinue service to Downtown Brooklyn. The new route would run from the Junction at Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues to the New Lots #3 train station only. The group had previously discussed their interest in having the bus route stop at the Gateway Center shopping mall and agreed that they would make a request at the MTA’s virtual workshop for Community Board 18, scheduled for Thursday, March 9th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The FCCA also took some time to say goodbye to their beloved Sector B Neighborhood Coordination Officers, Yhayh Saleh and Viviana Segovia. After devoting many years of service to the community, the pair have been promoted and are leaving the 69th Precinct and have been reassigned to the Detective Bureau. Officer Saleh explained that he and his partner will continue to be available to the community and will forward all of their concerns, until such time that new officers are assigned to their sector.
The next meeting of the FCCA will be held virtually on Saturday, March 25th at noon.