Jobless Mortgage Relief Program Off to Slow Start

September 20, 2011

A $7.6 billion federal program to help unemployed home owners avoid foreclosures has only distributed about 1 percent of its money in the last 16 months, the USA Today reports. 

The Hardest Hit Fund, created by the Obama administration, granted funds in 2010 to 18 states that faced high unemployment and a steep drop in home values. The aid program usually includes mortgage assistance for six to 24 months for home owners who are unemployed. 

Since June 30, 17 states have used the funds to help 7,500 home owners, according to Treasury Department reports. 

States have been slow to get their programs up and running. For example, New Jersey began its program in May but just began making loans this month. Illinois just launched its program last week. 

States have until 2017 to use the funds. 

"You wish states could move quicker. But you also don't want them to waste the money," says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. 

Source: “States Slow to Tap $7.6B Fund to Help Jobless Pay Mortgages,” USA Today (Sept. 19. 2011)

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