Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund hampered by nation’s worst record

Sign_of_the_Times-Foreclosure

Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund has accepted the smallest percentage of applicants of any state, a federal inspector general said Wednesday.

Only 20.5 percent of Florida borrowers who applied to the federal program were accepted, according to the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Not only are few Floridians helped by the Hardest Hit Fund, those that are must endure long waits. Out-of-work Florida homeowners seeking unemployment assistance through the program had to wait a median of 167 days, the inspector general said.

UPDATE: Florida’s acceptance rates are low because the state program doesn’t weed out applicants who might not qualify, said Cecka Green, spokeswoman for the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which runs the state’s $1 billion Hardest Hit Fund.

“Because we don’t do any type of pre-screening, that’s one of the reasons it looks like our denial rate is higher,” Green said. “It’s really apples-to-oranges.”

Other states screen applicants, she said.

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