Public Employee Press
Municipal Employees Housing Program
MELS and Mortgages:
How union lawyers help
Municipal Employees Housing Program provides one-stop affordable housing services
for DC 37 members. Any member who is a prospective homebuyer of a one- or two-family
home, a condominium or cooperative apartment in the five boroughs can use a MELS
lawyer to handle the real estate closing.
MELS is DC 37s free
Municipal Employees Legal Services for active and retired DC 37 members. While
members can use an attorney of their choosing, MELS can save the member about
$1,500 on the legal fees.
MELS and MEHP are benefits the union provides
to protect members from being scammed by unscrupulous lenders or real estate agents.
On finding a property, the MEHP counselor will have the member contact
MELS to arrange to meet with an attorney who will help execute the contract of
sale, review the property inspection report and title search. The MELS lawyer
will also attend the closing where the new homeowner receives the deed and
MEHP is a partnership with labor, HPD, Neighborhood Housing Services,
a nonprofit homeownership organization, and Amalgamated Bank through which DC
37 members can get credit counseling and repair, savings plans, FirstHome grants
up to $24,000, if eligible, and mortgages from any of 10 banks that work with
The collaboration of MELS and the Municipal Employees
Housing Program serves the members ofDC 37 by making the opportunity of obtaining
affordable housing a reality for them, said Joan Beranbaum, MELS executive
director and chief counsel. Not only does MELS provide free representation
in real estate closings for homes purchased through the housing program, but we
work closely with the housing program to find alternate housing for those who
have lost their homes and to preserve the homes of those members in danger of
For more information on MEHP, call 212-815-1814 to speak
to a counselor. To make an appointment with a MELS lawyer, please call 212 815-1111.
Members of Local 371 and 375 should contact their locals legal services.