Florida is Slowest in Disbursing Federal Foreclosure Aid Funds

Law Firm Newswire



Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 10, 2015 – A recent government report says Florida lags behind all other states in disbursing federal funds to families affected by the housing market crash.

The Hardest Hit Fund, part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was created by the federal government in 2010. It is aimed at mitigating the effects of the steep drop in the housing market, the ensuing financial crisis and high unemployment.

O. Reginald Osenton, a bankruptcy attorney in Brandon, said that he is not surprised at the report.

“I know first hand that Florida families are in trouble and are not getting the help they need from the state,” Osenton said. “I see it every day. They remain unemployed, underemployed and continue to struggle to make ends meet. Our foreclosure rate is still one of the highest in the nation.”

The report comes from the Special Inspector General of TARP. It found that Florida has the highest rate of rejection of aid applicants and one of the highest rates of application withdrawal. Florida received $1 billion under the program, all of which it is supposed to disburse by Dec. 2017. Five years after the program’s creation, just half of the money has been paid out.

The average acceptance rate of applicants to the other 18 states that received HHF money is 48 percent, according to the report. Florida’s rate is less than half that, at 20 percent.

Programs to distribute HHF money are designed and administered by state governments. Most are intended to help unemployed homeowners keep their homes while they seek new jobs and those who owe more on their homes than they are worth.

“I call on state officials to end the delays and step up the payment of these funds as the federal government requires,” Osenton said. “This foot-dragging makes no sense. These funds are desperately needed.”