Florida finally rolls out Treasury's $1 billion fund for distressed homeowners
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. is finally ready to put $1 billion in Treasury Department funds to use by funding solutions for distressed homeowners across the state. On Monday, the agency began accepting applications for the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund, a program that offers qualifying borrowers two options for saving delinquent mortgages. The Treasury Department disbursed funds from its $7.6 billion Hardest-Hit Fund last summer, but the roll-out is just now taking place. Wells Fargo (WFC: 29.38 -1.71%) is also in talks with the Arizona Department of Housing to join a program providing principal reduction on delinquent mortgages using some of the $268 million allocated to the southwest state through HHF, a source familiar with the negotiations said earlier this month. Bank of America is also doing the same in the state. Plan one under Florida's program offers unemployment mortgage assistance that runs up to six months or $12,000 in total payments, whichever threshold is reached first. In addition, the mortgage loan reinstatement program was deployed to bring delinquent mortgages up to date, with the cap at $6,000. Florida Housing Finance Corp. launched a pilot program in Florida's foreclosure-ridden Lee County in March. Homeowners across the state can now submit applications. The program is the result of a 2010 Treasury initiative in which the federal agency created the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the hardest-hit housing markets. The Treasury agreed to allocate millions of dollars to states riddled with distressed loans and suffering from high housing depreciation rates. The states include Florida, California, Arizona, Michigan and Nevada. Write to Kerri Panchuk.