November 9, 2010

RI to Receive an Additional $22.8 Million in Foreclosure Prevention Assistance

PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today announced that Rhode Island will receive an additional $22.8 million in federal “Hardest Hit” funding to help protect neighborhood home values and provide homeowners with additional resources to prevent foreclosures. This new funding, which will be administered by Rhode Island Housing, brings the state’s total Hardest Hit total allotment to almost $80 million.

Rhode Island Housing expects this program to be fully operational and available statewide later in the fall. Until then, Rhode Island Housing will be operating a pilot program.

“This funding provides additional targeted assistance to Rhode Island families who are suffering from the mortgage crisis and is a smart investment in strengthening our communities. People who need foreclosure assistance should contact their lenders and check for updates. They should not expect to have all their bills paid, but they should know what their options are and that assistance is available,” said Reed. “I commend the Obama Administration for making these funds available to more middle-class families. While the Bush Administration focused efforts on bailing out Wall Street, President Obama is doing everything he can to ensure Main Street recovers. This program will pay dividends for our state’s neighborhoods and families.”

“This continued support from the Hardest Hit fund will not only help more Rhode Islanders keep their homes, but stabilize communities and our economy in the process,” said Senator Whitehouse.

“This additional funding will strengthen the programs Rhode Island Housing has established and help reach even more struggling families,” said Langevin. “With the current housing market, this is welcome news.”

“This new round of Hardest-Hit funding from the Treasury means that we will be able to bring relief to an even larger spectrum of Rhode Islanders who are in danger of losing their home,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “As more and more Rhode Islanders cope with unemployment or reduced income, families, who are struggling to pay their mortgage, should immediately contact their lender or a HUD-approved counseling agency like the Rhode Island Housing HelpCenter.”

Under the formula originally announced by the Obama Administration, Rhode Island was not eligible to receive Hardest Hit funding. However, Senators Reed and Whitehouse worked hard to make the case that Rhode Island and other states with high concentrations of unemployment needed additional foreclosure prevention assistance. As a result, Rhode Island, along with North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and South Carolina were each made eligible for a portion of $600 million in Hardest-Hit Funding.

Rhode Island has the highest rate of seriously delinquent mortgages — meaning the number of households in the state that are in foreclosure or delinquent for 90 days or more on their payments — in all of New England. Rhode Island’s seriously delinquent rate is 8.73%, whereas the regional average is 7.50%.

The HousingWorks RI 2010 Fact Book found: “At the current rate, one in every 10 mortgaged Rhode Islanders could face foreclosure. Between 2009 and 2012, another 31,192 foreclosures are expected in Rhode Island. The costs of these disproportionate numbers to Rhode Island’s families are shocking, with around $5.6 billion in lost home equity.”

Over the past two years, Rhode Island has received $25.9 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to help local communities acquire, redevelop, or demolish foreclosed properties. The additional funding announced today brings the federal foreclosure prevention investment in Rhode Island to $105.2 million.


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