A federal report has criticized Florida for its failure to provide adequate goals for a foreclosure assistance program. The assistance, which operates under the Hardest Hit program, is a $7.6 billion national program that is aimed toward helping individuals avoid foreclosure by providing them temporary mortgage assistance. Florida, whose share of the funding is $1 billion, is one of 18 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have been ruled eligible for the funds.
However, despite the significant amount of money available, Florida has only allocated about $107.8 million to eligible homeowners thus far. Nationwide, less than 5 percent of the total allocated funds have been spent. Florida, in particular, was singled out in the recent federal report for having lofty expectations with no discernible plan in place to achieve the goals.
Shortly after an inspector general's report was issued, Florida officials revealed they were modifying the program. This modification is expected to reduce obstacles that Florida residents face so that they can become eligible for assistance through the program. Currently, the program offers up to a year of relief on mortgage payments (up to $24,000) for homeowners looking for work, with up to $18,000 targeted to paying off arrears. Those homeowners that are only looking to get their arrears brought up to date can receive assistance up to $25,000.
This federal program has a lot of benefits for Florida homeowners who are struggling to avoid foreclosure. The frustrating part of these programs is ensuring that the money is distributed to those who need it before it is too late. Hopefully, the jolt sent by the federal report will allow Florida to step up its efforts in maximizing the positive effect this money can have on hard working homeowners, who despite their best efforts, need additional help to save the roof over their head. The right advice may help them achieve their goals as they struggle to navigate the state and federal bureaucracies.
Source: palmbeachpost.com, "Report criticizes Florida for no measurable goals in program," Kimberly Miller, July 26, 2012