It’s no secret that Florida was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and has faced a long, slow recovery. The good news is Florida is recovering. More news stories focus on the improvement in Florida’s foreclosure rates and the decreases in the number of zombie foreclosures (those properties in the foreclosure process that aren’t yet under the care of a lender and thus, are unkempt, blighting neighborhoods) is sharply declining.
However, the recovery process remains ongoing and a new report from federal investigators highlights Florida’s failure to effectively assist troubled homeowners. The report reviewed Florida’s administration of its Hardest Hit Fund and found no shortage of errors and missteps by the state. The report cites a number of factors believed to have caused Florida to fall behind in its assistance of troubled homeowners through the administration of the Fund.
The cited Florida foreclosure missteps include:
- Florida’s decision to limit the months of assistance to unemployed homeowners to 6, decreasing it from 18 months;
- The failure to Florida to timely institute a principal reduction program;
- Florida’s mass rejection of applications; and
- Florida’s gross mismanaging the institution of the program so that required that Florida temporarily shit down acceptance of applications.
These missteps resulted in many honest, hardworking homeowners losing their homes when the state had the financial resources, though the Fund, to help. To add insult to injury, Florida initially did not run background checks and as a result dispersed funds to individuals with histories of fraud and money related crimes.
There are two sides two every story and the Treasury Department, the agency that runs the Fund on the federal level, and the Florida Housing Finance Corp., the agency that funds the Fund on the state level, view the progress differently. To show progress, they point to the $520.6 million that 23,224 Florida homeowners have received and noted that only California has dispersed more money.
Yet, this single statistic is not very persuasive. Florida is one of the largest states in the country and one of the ones with the most need for assistance so the fact that it has dispersed more than most other states doesn’t actually mean that it is administering the Fund effectively as other states. In fact, as of 2014, Florida had an 80% rejection rate for applications, the lowest of all hardest hit states. Additionally, although the Fund is nearing its 2017 end, the amount dispersed by Florida since 2010 is less than half of the amount allocated to Florida to utilize under the Fund.
The good news is the program for utilizing the Fund remains in effect, though not for too much longer, and it remains an option for Florida homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage obligation. If you’d like to learn more about Florida foreclosures contact the Jacksonville foreclosure defense attorneys at Adam Law Group today.