Florida to get $78 million from feds for Hardest Hit Fund

house money

Despite a less-than-stellar record for Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund, the program is getting an additional $78 million, the U.S. Treasury Department said Friday.

The new money extends the end date of the Hardest Hit Fund from Dec. 31, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020, the feds said. California gets the most of any state, at $213 million, and Illinois ($118 million), Ohio ($98 million) and North Carolina ($78 million) all received more than Florida.

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

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.

The Hardest Hit Fund, announced in February 2010 by the Obama administration, devoted $7.6 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia. Florida received $1.06 billion, an allocation eclipsed only by California’s $2 billion. The money was meant to help unemployed homeowners pay the mortgage until the job market improved.


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