Make us your home page
Instagram

Foreclosure assistance kicks off statewide

TALLAHASSEE — A $1 billion program aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure kicked off Monday, though it is less ambitious than originally proposed.

The Florida Housing Corp. began taking applications Monday morning at FLHardestHitHelp.org for the federally funded program that will provide nearly 40,000 unemployed and underemployed homeowners with up to six months of cash assistance to make payments on mortgages that would otherwise go unpaid.

Created by the U.S. Treasury in February 2010, the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the hardest-hit housing markets sets aside funds from the 2008 federal stimulus package to five states: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada, states with the highest levels of foreclosures. The program was later expanded to 18 states. Florida's cut to date is $1 billion of nearly $9 billion in federal funds.

Florida is the last state of five original recipients to get its program under way. The program was rolled out last year in Lee County as a pilot. The region was the epicenter of a housing bust resulting in thousands of foreclosures.

"For the homeowners who qualify, this temporary relief from their mortgage payments will provide some 'breathing room' so they can focus on becoming re-employed at a level that will allow them to resume making payments on their own," said Steve Auger, executive director of Florida Housing Finance Corp.

Florida's original program would have provided as much as $35,000 in assistance over an 18 month period for homeowners who were looking for work and behind on their mortgages. After taking office, however, Gov. Rick Scott ordered a review of the program and changed its parameters.

The new program reduced the maximum award up to $12,000 and shortens the duration of benefits, which advocates said could reduce the program's effectiveness for recipients whose job search takes longer to complete, as Florida's economy recovers more slowly than other states.

The program also offers up to $6,000 for residents who have gone back to work to pay delinquent mortgage payments.

"Shortening it to six months is going to create more of a challenge," said Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition. But, she said, "the coalition is going to do everything it can to make the program a success."

About 70 agencies are assisting in outreach efforts including local SHIP offices, non-profit groups and for-profit companies.

Foreclosure assistance kicks off statewide 04/18/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011 6:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.