Thursday, April 21, 2016

Conyers Praises $188 Million Hardest Hit Fund Allocation for Michigan Homeowners

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that it will allocate an additional $188 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program in the second phase of funding.  The additional funding into the HHF program, which is the result of recent bipartisan cooperation in Congress, 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 funding was approved by Congress, Rep. John Conyers sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, 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.

After the second phase of funding was announced, Rep. Conyers made the following statement:
“The people of Michigan and I are deeply grateful for the work of the Treasury Department and our Michigan Congressional delegation for this significant infusion of funding to the Hardest Hit Fund and to Step Forward Michigan.  As the aftermath of the Great Recession continues to cause severe hardship for many Michigan families, I am thankful that Secretary Lew and the Obama Administration shared my perspective that the additional funds should provide special assistance for our state. Due to this fair formula devised by the Department of the Treasury, the first phase of new funding provided Michigan with one of the largest portions of funds, per capita, of any state receiving assistance. In the second phase, which was announced today, Michigan will receive the largest allocation of any state. I look forward to witnessing the impact of this funding as our communities continue to heal and rebuild.”

The process announced by the Department of Treasury allocated $1 billion using a formula based on state population and the state’s use of their HHF allocation to date. In the second phase that was announced today, Treasury focused 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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