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Daily Business Review - September 26, 2008

South Florida to get $108 million in foreclosure funds
By: Terry Sheridan
South Florida was allocated almost $108 million today in a new federal program to help neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures.

South Florida’s allocation far outweighed other areas of the state and for good reason: The region leads the state in the numbers of foreclosures. And Florida is among the top four states nationwide in foreclosures.

Miami-Dade County is to receive $62.2 million, followed by $27.7 million for Palm Beach County and $17.8 million for Broward.

Separately, Florida will receive $91.2 million for its state block grant program.

State and local governments can use the funds to acquire land and foreclosed houses, demolish or rehabilitate properties or offer down payment assistance to low- to moderate-income buyers with household incomes of no more than 120 percent of the area median income.

Local governments also can use funds to assemble properties in a land bank for redevelopment.

Details of how the program will work are yet to be determined. Broward officials learned of the allocation in the midst of the Broward County Foreclosure Task Force meeting, prompting County Mayor Lois Wexler to call for a joint meeting with the Broward League of Cities to ensure the county’s 31 municipalities are equally informed of the program’s details.

Called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the funding is through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. The allocations were mandated by the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act approved in June.

Funds will be distributed to local governments designated as “entitlement” cities and counties. Undesignated counties will direct requests to the state block grant program, while undesignated cities will apply to their respective counties.

Miami is to receive $12.1 million, Fort Lauderdale $3.7 million and West Palm Beach $4.3 million.

Miami was second to Tampa, at $13.6 million, among Florida cities awarded the highest allocations. St. Petersburg and Miramar will get $9.5 million and $9.3 million, respectively.

HUD will distribute $3.92 billion nationwide.

The allocations were determined by the number of foreclosures, subprime mortgages and mortgage defaults or delinquencies in the various areas.