Georgia to receive federal housing aid

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The U.S. Treasury Department has committed almost $127 million to aid unemployed Georgia homeowners facing foreclosure, but state officials are still unsure when residents might see relief.

The money is part of $2 billion the Obama administration will send to 17 states with the highest unemployment and the worst housing markets as part of the Hardest Hit Fund.

While the federal government launched the program in February, Georgia was included in the third round of states to receive the funding on Aug. 11. The Georgia Housing Finance Agency must now create a plan for how to allocate the money and get approval from the Treasury Department before funds can be distributed to homeowners.

"We don't know when it will be available or who it will be able to help until it comes down the pipeline," said Phil Cottone, the director of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Homeownership.

Cottone said the housing agency will submit its plan to the federal government by Sept. 1. When it's approved, unemployed and recently re-employed residents can apply for the funds.

"I'm excited about it because we'll probably be able to help people stay in their homes that otherwise wouldn't," he said, adding he's unsure how much money each borrower will receive.

The program applies to states that have seen an average home price drop of more than 20 percent from the peak, according to the White House Web site. Georgia also meets the unemployment requirement with a 10 percent unemployment rate as of June.

Considering the scope of unemployed homeowners in the state, Mark Brandemuehl, the vice president of marketing for real estate Web site Movoto.com, said the millions in aid will still be too little too late.

With almost 270,000 Georgia homes behind on mortgage payments in June, $217 million is a small serving to share, Brandemuehl said.

Because the money might not be available to homeowners until next year, it leaves behind the residents who might lose their homes today.

"If you're lucky enough to get the program I think it's going to be great ... but it's just not going to affect that many people," Brandemuehl said. "It's just a drop in the bucket."

The first five states implemented in the program in February were Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada. These states received priority, based on their having a 20 percent or greater decline in average home prices, according to the Treasury Department.

South Carolina was part of the group of states in the second round of funds announced in March. These states, also including North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island, were chosen based on the high percentage of unemployed residents.

Clayton Ingram, the director of marketing and communication for the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority said his state just completed the approval process Georgia is now undergoing.

He expects payments of the state's $138 million portion to be made out to lending institutions for homeowners on Oct. 1.

Despite doubts about the program, any help in today's market is worth the wait, Ingram said.

"We know that we will not be able to reach everyone that needs this help," he said.

"And as a matter of timing, a lot of people in trouble today will not be able to hold out until the (start) of the program. That being said, when it is implemented, it's going to be a great help to those who need it."

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airbud7
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airbud7 08/26/10 - 06:13 am
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So now tax payers are making

So now tax payers are making house payments for the unimployed?

msgret92
121
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msgret92 08/26/10 - 06:22 am
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If the average home price has

If the average home price has dropped by 20%, why hasn't the tax assessed value dropped by 20%? All of the local politicians keep saying that we aren't feeling the recession here so they can justify keeping the over-assessed values high.

disssman
6
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disssman 08/26/10 - 06:42 am
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If the politicians wern't so

If the politicians wern't so in bed with bankers, they would have forced all banks to reset loans to the lowest available corporate rates on the date of closing. In the news this morrning I see where banks have started to gamble on loans again and are making risky investments. Again it is the little guy being forced to bail out wall street. When are we going to have some government regulation that sticks?

chascush
0
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chascush 08/26/10 - 07:26 am
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ddissman, ‘If the politicians

ddissman, ‘If the politicians wern't so in bed with bankers, they would have forced all banks to reset loans to the lowest available corporate rates on the date of closing.’
Why not just let the politicians set the rates, the old banking queen Barney Frank would do a real good job?
‘When are we going to have some government regulation that sticks?’
The only regulation that works in a capitalist system is let them go under which is the way it should. When businesses gamble & loose they go under, keep the guvamint out of it.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 08/26/10 - 07:28 am
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gee when are we going to get

gee when are we going to get with the program and wake up...schmucks of american unite!!!! we the middle class need to wake up and realize that race, class and other devisive issues are only meant to distract us from the real problem, our jobs and middle class has been hijacked and sent overseas to china, mexico, india, and ireland. all one needs to do is ask one question....what factor allowed china to overtake japan as the 2nd largest economy in the world??? their manufacturing base..why??? because consumer goods need to be made, if you make them then those in need of them will have to come to you in order to purchase them, hence look around everyone our factories either here in the south or the northeast and midwest lies idle with millions out of work relying on unemployment or working at a walmart trying to make ends meet while in china their economy is getting stronger and stronger every day. then on top of that we have the illegal aliens taking most of the remaining good paying jobs, so where or who is to blame?? it is our politicians from both sides of the aisle allowing our jobs to be taken by illegals, or sending them overseas, so you sea it's not about color or class it's about our way of life being sent overseas or undercut here at home. so unless we the regular folk wake up and demand that our jobs be brought back here to america and employers punished for hiring illegal aliens we will never ever see our way of life as we know it where a man can go to work and take care of his family at a decent job making decent wages

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/26/10 - 08:29 am
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Just great. Reward those who

Just great. Reward those who have not planned & saved. Those of us who prepared get nothing.

Also, foreclosure relief just delays the inevitable. I don't know the exact stats but I read somewhere recently that the majority of folks already helped by the feds have since foreclosed.

Can someone please tell the federal government to stop spending our money? Anyone?!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/26/10 - 08:35 am
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dissman. What you propose is

dissman. What you propose is socialism --- govt meddling into private affairs. Do you dems have no solution other than getting the government to "fix" everything?

The government has no businesses going to a private bank who made a loan to an adult and telling them that they now have to change the terms. Those folks signed on the dotted line. They knew they were responsible for paying the loan back. They knew the terms. They failed to meet them.

msgret92
121
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msgret92 08/26/10 - 08:59 am
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The government and the unions

The government and the unions sent the jobs overseas with high taxes, minimum wages, and benefits. All to support the welfare state and establish a voter base that had no choice but to support and vote for them. The answer is to get government out of business, not more government control. If we stop the handouts from government except in extreme cases and put criminals away doing hard time instead of a life better than they had on the street the illegal alien problem will take care of itself when Americans have to work to eat instead of waiting for there check.

ispy4u
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ispy4u 08/26/10 - 09:02 am
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People who did not plan for

People who did not plan for the future. Spoken like a true compassionate conservative. " There but for the grace of GOD goes I". Can't you feel the love. Why not go one step more? Why pay them unemployment? They should have known that they might lose their job.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/26/10 - 09:32 am
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ispy4u "holier than thou" It

ispy4u "holier than thou" It is not my responsibility to pay taxes so that they can get 99 months of unemployment or so they can get their home paid for. They need to move in with friends or family and co-exist until things improve. People did it years ago, its not so bad. It's better than being homeless or starving.

The taxpayers cannot save everyone. That is the cold, hard truth that you liberals have not figured out yet.

Handouts like unemployment, welfare, housing bailouts, etc. remove individual drive & responsibility from people. I know for a fact that there are women out there collecting unemployment who have no intention of going back to work. They are telling people that they want to stay home with their kids but that they will keep collecting the money as long as the govt gives it to them. I guess you are OK with that.

Now, to your unemployment comment. Yes, they should get unemployment. But once the amount that they & their employers have contributed for them is gone, then the benefits should stop. For most folks who have worked 15-20 years that will be about 2-3 months of unemployment -- not 99 months!!!!!

Keep living in your koolaid & lollypop land. Fact is, there is not enough tax money to keep these programs up. America is broke.

I stick by what I said. American's did not plan well enough for their future (because they are selfish & overspent and they know Mommy Govt is there to bail them out, that's why).

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/26/10 - 09:49 am
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America has moved from being

America has moved from being a land of pride, self-sufficiency and self-reliance to a land of govt dependency, lack of self respect and govt handouts. Socialism doesn't work. We are seeing that right now. Just read the financial news.

ispy4u
0
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ispy4u 08/26/10 - 11:02 am
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" Holier than thou"? I guess

" Holier than thou"? I guess you were facing a mirror when you wrote that? How do you plan for you employer to go under without warning? How do you plan for " unexpected" situations that come about? If these big banks can go under, why are you so shocked when people run into a crisis situation. Unexpected medical costs is just one example. It is okay to bail out a foreign country but in your world, heaven forbid it is one of our citizen.

dani
12
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dani 08/26/10 - 12:04 pm
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I still think if stimulus

I still think if stimulus dollars are going to other countries then STOP the so-called stimulus programs... I>E>.Aug 5, 2010 ... Your Stimulus Dollars At Work ... $200000 to assist indigenous Siberian communities in engaging Russian policymakers

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 08/26/10 - 12:56 pm
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"Reward those who have not

"Reward those who have not planned & saved. Those of us who prepared get nothing." True dat, Chillen. I'm 27, I've been in the workforce for 10 years, I've saved about 26% of what I've made over that time frame. I have been unemployed since January. I am not stressing out at ALL. In fact my savings account has grown since I lost my job... by making sacrifices in my standard of living, and taking whatever menial (but tax-free) work I can get. I know scores of people my age who work paycheck to paycheck, and blow hundreds of dollars each month on fancy coffees, going bar hopping, designer clothes, hair salons.. have no savings at ALL, no plan for the future, and who wigg out at the slightest prospect of disruption to their pampered lifestyle.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 08/26/10 - 12:57 pm
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my only "luxuries" are the

my only "luxuries" are the occasional Zaxby's, and the every-other-day pack of smokes habit

chascush
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chascush 08/26/10 - 02:51 pm
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If we do not neuter Hussein

If we do not neuter Hussein by taking control of congress in Nov we will be domed.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/26/10 - 08:20 pm
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Excellent omnomnom. America

Excellent omnomnom. America needs more folks like you! We would not be in this situation if everyone took care of themselves like you have.

Most American's are only 1 or 2 paychecks away from total financial devastation. Partially because of greed as you eloquently outlined but partially because they know mommy government is there to take care of them when they get a boo-boo.

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