Housing Crisis
10:56 am
Wed October 24, 2012

ProPublica: State Lawmakers Are Holding Up $300 Million Meant to Help Homeowners

ProPublica reports that $300 million awarded to Florida through a settlement over bad mortgages and foreclosures remains untouched. 

That money is meant to help homeowners in Florida that were hurt by the state's housing crisis.

Millions of dollars were given to individuals and state governments by big banks accused of wrongful foreclosures and other mortgage servicing abuses.

Florida got the biggest sum of money-- besides California-- because the state was wracked by the housing crisis.

However, according to ProPublica,

Florida is one of just a few states where the Attorney General has not announced plans for a significant portion of the money. We’ve contacted every state to find out what they were doing with that money. Of the $2.5 billion going to states, just over a billion dollars has been pledged for housing-related programs, while a roughly equal amount has been diverted to plug budget holes or fund programs unrelated to the foreclosure crisis. $378 million is still to be determined, and almost all of that is Florida’s.

Florida’s funds are caught between the Attorney General, Republican Pam Bondi, and the Republican state legislature. Bondi has pledged to make the money available to homeowners; earlier this year, she called for suggestions from the public. Some state lawmakers, however, insist that it needs to go through the regular appropriations process — where it could potentially be siphoned off into other programs. And that wouldn’t happen until March, when the legislative session begins.

Other state's are using that settlement money to fight fraud, help people facing foreclosure or for grants to groups that offer legal aid and housing counseling.

Miami, in particular, was one of the cities hardest hit by the state's foreclosure crisis.