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Federal foreclosure assistance was too slow for some Ohio victims

If you were one of the unfortunate victims of the foreclosure crisis in Ohio, this “news” may not be news to you. But the trickle-down effect throughout the Ohio economy could have affected many others and may continue to do so. While help was on the way, the waiting was the hardest part.

The “Hardest Hit Fund,” offered from the federal government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program to homeowners going through foreclosure, was designed to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing loan-modification help among other assistance. The funds were offered to states with the highest foreclosure rates which included Ohio. But according to statistics from the Treasury Department, which administered the program, Ohio took longer to provide assistance to homeowners than any of the other states in the program.

The statistics show that, on average, it took over a year – 366 days – for an Ohio applicant to get financial assistance after losing a home. Loan modifications took around 240 days for approval. Past-due mortgage payments were often not delivered for about nine months. Unemployment mortgage help took about six months. One report said that Ohio’s program barely made a dent in its foreclosure numbers and helped less than half of the victims that the state had projected to provide with assistance.

The TARP official who criticized Ohio’s “glacial” pace noted that unemployed people don’t have that much time to wait for assistance. She also compared the pace of payment to individuals to the bailouts offered to banks and automakers under financial assistance programs which didn’t have to wait six months to a year. “Save the Dream Ohio” reportedly ultimately helped over seventy percent of the people who applied for assistance, giving out over $570 million in aid, all of which has now either been distributed or is committed to future payments.

Unfortunately, because of the delays, many people in Ohio who suffered through the foreclosure process or other financial challenges may still need assistance with their financial future. Bankruptcy may be am option. The advice of a bankruptcy attorney can help you determine your best course of action.

Source: Cleveland.com, “Federal report slams Ohio for major delays in helping homeowners in foreclosure,” Stephen Koff, Oct. 28, 2015

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