Crist Announces $11.5 Million to Help Florida Homeowners

9 12 2008

Florida received nearly $11.5 million to continue providing statewide foreclosure prevention counseling and legal assistance to homeowners in foreclosure, according to Gov. Charlie Crist. The boost will enable 77 counseling agencies and organizations across the state to provide foreclosure counseling. The funds also will allow legal services groups to counsel area homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

“We are grateful to the federal government,” says Crist. “By working together, Florida and Washington, D.C., are providing the advice and counsel to help residents in the Sunshine State retain the dream of homeownership.”

The grant to support Florida’s foreclosure counseling intervention efforts comes from funds provided through the Housing and Economic Recover Act approved by Congress in July 2008. Congress appropriated $180 million to be distributed nationally through a competitive application process administered by NeighborWorks America, within guidelines defined by federal legislation.

NeighborWorks America is an independent, congressionally chartered, non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that provides access to homeownership and affordable rental housing. In March 2008, Florida received nearly $1.3 million to support statewide foreclosure prevention counseling efforts. Those funds enabled approximately 50 counseling agencies/organizations to provide more foreclosure counseling to at-risk homeowners.

Earlier this month Crist joined representatives of the banking and mortgage lending industry to announce a voluntary agreement to provide foreclosure relief to Florida homestead property owners for 45 days, through the holidays and New Year’s. Also, the Florida Department of Community Affairs recently submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) its proposed plan for distributing $91.1 million in federal funds to smaller urban and rural communities to respond to rising foreclosures and falling home values.

In September 2008, HUD announced that targeted Florida cities and counties would receive $541 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for this purpose.

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