Florida launches billion-dollar mortgage bailout amid concerns

The state launched a billion-dollar mortgage bailout Sunday, aimed initially at unemployed homeowners and pinned largely on the hope that those who get help will find jobs within six months.  Read More.

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. starts taking applications Sunday morning from struggling homeowners for mortgage assistance from the federal government’s Hardest Hit funds. Though the state-owned corporation had planned on providing as much as $35,000 during 18 months to each qualified homeowner, it scaled back the program to offer only $12,000 during six months at the direction of Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott, who earlier this year refused to take federal transit dollars for a Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed-rail project, agreed to accept the federal mortgage assistance with the caveat that it be spread among more recipients. Scott’s six-month proposal is expected to assist 40,000 homeowners, while the previous, 18-month version would have assisted about half that many.

But the risk associated with cutting each homeowner’s slice of assistance is that the person will not find work by the time the aid runs out in six months — and so would once again face foreclosure. In that case, the government money would have only delayed the inevitable.

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