No state in the country was hit by the mortgage foreclosure crisis as hard
as Florida. Florida faced more foreclosures than anywhere else in the
nation, and housing prices fell dramatically. While the housing market
has begun to make a recovery, Florida continues to lead the country in
foreclosures each month even five years after the housing crash.
With this is mind, it is difficult to understand why Florida lawmakers
recently rejected $250 million in federal funds which were dedicated to
In February, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it has set aside
$2 billion for several states to be distributed under the Hardest Hit
Fund. The Hardest Hit Fund is a program which provides federal aid to
the 18 states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis. The program helps
homeowners by providing loan modifications, mortgage payment assistance,
and transitional assistance programs.
During the first phase of the Hardest Hit Fund, Florida received $78 million
in assistance. During the second phase of the program which is starting
now, Florida was eligible for up to $250 million. The Florida Housing
Finance Corporation (FHFC), the state agency tasked with running the Hardest
Hit Fund, chose not to apply for the program.
The FHFC consists of board members appointed by Governor Rick Scott. The
agency did not explain why it failed to apply for these funds.
This is not the first time the FHFC has been under fire for not acting
in homeowners’ best interest. Previously, the board was criticized
for using less than 2/3 of the $1 billion in federal aid that Florida
received. According to the Tampa Bay Times, approximately 145,000 homeowners
applied for help through the Hardest Hit Fund, and only 25,000 were approved
by the state for aid. Federal officials have stated that the FHFC has
“consistently underperformed” when compared to how other states
have used this federal aid.
While this aid could have helped struggling homeowners, the decision not
to apply for these funds is consistent with Governor Scott’s previous
actions throughout the course of his term. Scott has also rejected federal
aid for programs like Medicare expansion and high-speed rail projects.
Homeowners still have the option of applying for Florida’s Hardest
Hit Fund if they meet the program’s qualifications. If you are planning
to apply, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. At Loan
Lawyers, our attorneys can advise you of your best legal options to avoid
foreclosure, and will work with your mortgage lender to resolve your case.
To find out more about how we can help, schedule a free and confidential
case review today by calling (844) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).