Housing Help Available for Floridians
Jun 23, 2010 -
Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced today that $418 million is now available to help Floridians with bridge loans for mortgages through the Obama Administration’s “Hardest Hit Fund,” which will be directed to the state Housing Finance Agency and will immediately assist homeowners.
“This vitally important investment of $418 million to Florida families will help thousands of struggling, hard-working Floridians stay in their homes during this economic downturn,” Castor said. “Throughout the past several years and at the four Foreclosure Prevention and Assistance Workshops I have held, I heard from thousands of residents about the difficulty in working with banks and loan servicers. They told me that they want to pay their mortgages, but need a little breathing room and some help refinancing. This announcement today will help them do that.”
Today, the Obama Administration approved Florida’s plan to offer bridge loans for the Floridians who have lost their job or are under-employed while they look for new jobs. Floridians also will be offered principal reduction, or have second liens extinguished, as a way to have their mortgages modified and therefore more affordable. These steps will help Floridians refinance their homes as so many are underwater. The state will partner local housing counselors and local government housing departments on these initiatives.
Florida has seen a 20 percent or greater decline in average housing prices. Florida had the third-highest foreclosure rate in the nation in May, according to RealtyTrac. One in every 174 housing units received a foreclosure notice.
Castor has been working with the Obama Administration and Florida housing officials on ways to ease the foreclosure crisis in the state. For example, in March, she recommended to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation that they consider implementing elements of a successful Pennsylvania housing initiative that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing loans to help bring delinquent mortgage payments up-to-date and to help homeowners pay their mortgages on time and in full. Indeed, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation included parts of that plan in their proposal to the Obama Administration, which was approved today.
Castor is also working to boost property values by supporting legislation extending the authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. A lack of available flood insurance is holding up home closings throughout the state. The legislation was approved in the House today.
In addition, Castor is helping homeowners by hosting her fifth Mortgage Assistance and Foreclosure Prevention Workshop from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at Jefferson High School in Tampa.