Floridians fighting to save their homes from foreclosure are losing out on $250 million in mortgage assistance because state officials opted not to apply for additional money from the federal Hardest Hit Fund. The fund was created six years ago to help those states hardest hit by the housing market crash and foreclosure crisis. All of the board members who voted to turn down the assistance were appointed by Governor Rick Scott, a Republican who has opposed federal bailout programs and whose office once pressured the housing agency to limit the time homeowner’s could receive the Hardest Hit help.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson calls the decision “tragic” and has repeatedly blasted state officials for their slowness in spending the $1 billion that Florida originally received. As of January 1, 2016, the state had spent less than two-thirds of that amount and helped only 25,000 homeowners while rejecting 120,000.
In addition, the federal official who oversees the Treasury’s management of the Hardest Hit Fund has criticized Florida, issuing a report that found the state had “consistently under-performed” other states in the use of the relief money.
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