State to direct all 'robo settlement' funds to housingMay 18, 2012 @ 8:49 am
As the funds from a $25 billion nationwide settlement over foreclosure abuses are distributed to individual states, money set aside specifically to help distressed homeowners is instead being rerouted into depleted state coffers.
Only 27 states, including Washington, have directed 100 percent of their funding into housing programs, reports Enterprise Community Partners.
About 15, with California being the latest, have announced that the settlement money will be used in part or completely for other purposes, ranging from economic development to debt reduction.
According to Enterprise Community Partners, Washington is scheduled to receive $54,242,749 from the settlement. Ten percent will go toward civil penalties; $45 million to foreclosure relief programs, including housing counselors, free legal assistance and mediation. A committee appointed by the state's attorney general will determine how the remainder will be used.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has been privately nudging state officials to use the money -- $2.5 billion total -- as it was intended.
"Other uses fail to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the settlement to bring real, concerted relief to homeowners and the communities in which they live," Donovan said.
Alan Jenkins of the Opportunity Agenda, which supports home ownership, goes so far as to suggest that redirecting the settlement funds could even have a racially discriminatory effect in some states.
"If you dump all of these funds into the general coffers," Jenkins said, "the African-American homeowners are not going to benefit in any real way because they represent such a small percentage of the larger state."
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