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Florida Rejects Funds Meant to Help Struggling Homeowners

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 foreclosure assistance.

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).