Do you know someone who may need help with safe, affordable housing in the Westchester area? Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc., a HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling agency provides education and assistance with first-time home buying, mortgage foreclosure prevention, senior housing assistance, and fair housing.

We asked WRO’s Senior Housing Director John Baker for more information about how the organization helps the over 62 community in Westchester.

WSV: What programs does the Senior Housing Department of WRO administer?
JB: We offer one-on-one counseling for seniors and their families about accessing different senior housing options. One of the programs is Project Share, which matches up seniors who have housing with those who are looking for housing. The arrangement is as flexible as the parties want it to be

WSV: We see you provide reverse mortgage counseling as well.
JB: Yes, but I want to emphasize the “counseling” part of that description. We are not involved at all in the sale of these products. Reverse mortgages are an-FHA insured mortgage product that allows homeowners ages 62 and older to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. After some bad press in the last few years, the industry now requires a financial assessment to ensure borrowers can afford to remain in their homes. At the end of a roughly one-hour counseling session, you receive a counseling certificate which is a required part of the loan origination process.

WSV: Do you charge for your services?
JB: Many of WRO’s services are free, while some programs may have a nominal charge, which can sometimes be waived based on income levels or hardship. WRO works with clients of all income levels and backgrounds. For example, reverse mortgage counseling sessions have a fee of 135.00 for Westchester residents.

WSV: What do you say to the person who is in financial straits but isn’t taking steps to do anything about it?
JB: Contact us! It never hurts to gather information and you never know what resources are out there. For example, for homeowners there is a program that’s becoming available called New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP), which will make loans to eligible New York homeowners at risk of foreclosure and unable to get assistance from other foreclosure prevention programs.

WSV: Thanks John. We learned a lot about the great work WRO is doing for the community!

WRO Inc., located at 470 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains, can be reached at 914.428.4507 or visit

Susan E. Ross is founder/publisher/curator of Westchester Senior Voice print magazine and its accompanying website. She is a Certified Senior Advisor and part of the boomer generation. She is committed to informing and connecting readers to their community as they navigate their 55+ lives while sometimes also helping their aging parents- all with a tone of positivity, and the pursuit and expectation of successful aging.