When Florida received its portion of the Hardest Hit Fund, the goal was to help first time home buyers fund their down payments. However, it is now being used to assist those who have previously owned a home.
Unfortunately, thousands who are behind on their current mortgages in Florida are still waiting for assistance from the program. After five years, only 24,000 of the 116,000 who applied for assistance from the Hardest Hit Fund have received aid. There is reportedly $1 billion in unspent funds that has to be used by December 2017 or it must be returned to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Florida’s Housing Finance Corp. is in charge of the state’s program and says the purpose of the down payment assistance portion is to bolster the real estate market in areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.
One Spring Hill resident said he has been waiting for assistance from the program since August so that his home of 30 years does not go into foreclosure. “You give the guy down the block money to buy a house and then this one has to go into foreclosure. It makes no sense,” he said.
Troubled Asset Relief Program’s (TARP) Christy Romero said, “Florida has not done a good job of getting this money out to homeowners and rather than do a better job on existing programs, they create other programs to spend on someone else.”
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