RI Receives Additional $26.9 Million in ‘Hardest Hit’ Funds to Help Prevent Foreclosures & Stabilize Housing

WASHINGTON, DC — In an effort to keep families in their homes and minimize
foreclosures, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced an additional $26,942,913 in
foreclosure prevention funding will be coming to Rhode Island from the Hardest Hit
Fund (HHF) program at the U.S. Treasury Department. This follows the $9,680,817 in
additional HHF funding released in February, which represents a total of $36,623,730
in additional HHF funding for this year. In March of 2016, Reed wrote U.S. Treasury
Secretary Jacob
Lew
urging the additional HHF resources for Rhode Island, citing the continued need for
foreclosure prevention assistance and the state’s track record of putting the
federal assistance to good use. This is in addition to the Reed’s January 2016
letter
urging additional HHF funding for Rhode Island.

The Hardest Hit Fund is a flexible source of federal aid that has been used in Rhode
Island to help protect neighborhood home values and enable unemployed homeowners
remain in their homes while they search for new employment, and for other programs
to encourage sustainable and affordable homeownership.

“These federal funds will help stabilize the housing market while keeping more
families in their homes. It will also help minimize further foreclosures that can
really burden and blight neighborhoods. This is good news for Rhode Island and will
be a big help for homeowners and communities still looking to get back on their
feet,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, which
oversees federal housing policy, and the Ranking Member of the Appropriations
Subcommittee that oversees the funding for federal housing programs.

The housing crisis that began in 2007 led to unprecedented home price declines, as
well as sustained and higher unemployment in certain parts of the country. Families
in these areas were particularly hard hit by the crisis as they have struggled to
make their monthly mortgage payments and grappled with deeply underwater mortgages.

First announced in February 2010, the HHF program provided federal funding to the 18
states most affected by home foreclosures to develop locally-tailored programs to
assist struggling homeowners in their communities. Under the original formula
proposed by the Obama Administration in 2010, Rhode Island would have been excluded
from the HHF program. Senator Reed successfully fought to adjust the formula to
include Rhode
Island,
arguing that the Administration didn’t fully take into account how hard states like
Rhode Island had been hit by the foreclosure crisis.

To date, Rhode Island has now received $115,975,303 in HHF dollars to help prevent
foreclosures and stabilize the state’s housing market. Since its launch in December
2010, more than 5,300 Rhode Island homeowners have sought HHF counseling, and more
than 3,300 homeowners received assistance from the program, according to Rhode
Island Housing. At one point, the state program stopped accepting applications due
to insufficient funding, but the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 made
another $2 billion in HHF assistance available to the states.

Rhode Islanders interested in learning more about who qualifies for assistance from
the HHF program and how to apply should review the Hardest Hit Fund – Rhode Island
fact
sheet
and visit the state’s HHF program
website.