Federal Inquiry Requested of $1 Billion Florida Housing Program
“Nelson also says in his letter that “felons, tax scofflaws and people with histories of running up debts they can’t repay,” are receiving Hardest Hit money.”
Federal inquiry requested of $1 billion Florida housing program
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is requesting a federal investigation of the state’s $1 billion Hardest Hit program, which is geared at helping unemployed and underemployed homeowners pay their mortgages.
Nelson, who will be in Tallahassee today to announce his request, sent a letter to the special inspector general of the Troubled Assets Relief Program saying he is concerned about who is receiving the Hardest Hit funds and how much is being doled out.
The program has been notoriously slow in giving out awards to needy homeowners and has been criticized in past federal reviews for having so few homeowners receiving money.
Nelson’s letter says Florida has distributed just 15.7 percent of the state’s $1 billion. The most recent numbers as of March 1 show $230 million, or 23 percent of the total allocation, had been spent or encumbered.
“Yet Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the sixth consecutive month in February,” Nelson wrote. “I would ask that your office look thoroughly into Florida’s management of the homeowner-help program as part of the current broader audit of the entire multi-state program.”
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation administers the Hardest Hit program. As of March 1, it says 9,052 homeowners have been approved for money, out of 44,854 that have applied. There are 11,953 applications currently in the review process.