About $200 million from a National Mortgage Settlement will be scattered across Florida, with cash going to domestic violence centers, Habitat for Humanity and housing subsidies for low-and medium-income homeowners and renters under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott.
“This money will help those who’ve been harmed by foreclosures in this state,” Scott said, moments before signing SB 1852. “Funding in this bill also will help various affordable housing initiatives and will help make additional affordable housing available in the Sunshine State.
“This is very great news for Florida families who are struggling to make ends meet, just like my family was when I was growing up,” he concluded.
Florida is drawing the money as part of a nationwide, $25 billion settlement reached more than a year ago between attorneys general and five big mortgage servicers. It’s taken Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Republican-controlled Legislature months to reach agreement on how to distribute the cash.
“This has been a long time coming,” Bondi said Tuesday. “We are very proud of this settlement.”
The biggest share of the money, $60 million, will go to the Florida House Finance Corp., for the state apartment incentive loan (SAIL) program, mostly to provide rentals for the elderly and developmentally disabled. Another $40 million goes to the State Housing Inititiatve Program (SHIP), also run by the FHFC, to be directed to cities and counties for renovating owner-occupied homes.
“This is a great day for Floridians and a great day for affordable housing,” said Wellington Meffert, of the FHFC.
Bondi acknowledged that the settlement didn’t steer money directly to homeowners struggling to keep homes. But she said that stemmed from the need to maintain accountability over the dollars.
“It’s hard to write checks directly out there. It needed accountability,” Bondi said. “That’s why we’re going through these various agenicies, just to make sure it’s going where it’s meant to go.”