Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Conyers Applauds Additional $2 Billion Dollar Investment into the Hardest Hit Fund

DETROIT – Last week the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it will be adding an additional $2 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program due to bipartisan procurement of additional funding in Congress.  The additional funding into the HHF will assist homeowners who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and help stabilize impoverished neighborhoods.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
After the funds were approved by Congress, Rep. John Conyers sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew earlier this month, advocating on behalf of Michigan as the Obama administration designed a process for distributing the funds between states. He urged the Administration to take into consideration Michigan’s “disproportionate economic challenges resulting from the Great Recession,” including continued high unemployment and underemployment, and the ongoing impact on Michigan families of the drop of housing prices caused by the economic collapse.  Rep. Conyers also highlighted the “expeditious manner that Hardest Hit Fund resources have been disbursed in our state,” as the funds enabled Michigan to conduct more blight removal than any other state, in addition to providing important assistance with those at risk of losing their homes due to property tax foreclosure.

“The people of Michigan and I are deeply grateful for the work of the Treasury Department and allies in Congress for this important infusion of funding to the Hardest Hit Fund.  As the impact of the Great Recession continues to be particularly harsh for Michigan families, I am thankful that Secretary Lew and the Obama Administration supported my request to design a process that will provide special assistance for our state. The result of their process is that, in this first round of funding, Michigan will receive one of the largest portions of funds, per capita, of any state receiving assistance. The formula for the second round of funding considers states' housing market realities and capacity to put additional funds to use, again positioning Michigan to also receive a substantial portion of the funds in the second round."

The process announced by the Department of Treasury will allocate $1 billion using a formula based on state population and the state’s use of their HHF allocation to date. In the second phase, Treasury will focus additional resources on those states “with significant ongoing foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization needs, a proven track record in utilizing funds, and successful program models to address those needs,” mirroring the criteria Rep. Conyers urged Treasury to consider in his February 2016 letter.

The Hardest Hit Fund was created in 2010 to provide $7.6 billion in targeted aid to 18 states and the District of Columbia deemed hardest hit by the economic and housing market downturn.  The program has funded numerous initiatives in Michigan that have made significant progress for the people of Michigan. As of January 17, Michigan’s Blight Elimination Program had successfully demolished 8,022 blighted properties, the most of any state in the country. And aside from California (which has a population four times greater than that of Michigan), Michigan has used the Hardest Hit Funds to assist the greatest number of homeowners of any state, surpassing 30,000 in January 2015. 

Visit the Treasury Department’s website for more information on how the Hardest Hit Fund is helping communities and homeowners across the country.
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