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THE FLORIDA SENATE

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100


COMMITTEES: Judiciary, Vice Chair Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government Community Affairs Environmental Preservation and Conservation Ethics and Elections SELECT COMMITTEE: Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

SENATOR DARREN SOTO


Deputy Democratic Whip 14th District

For Immediate Release: March 21, 2013 Contact: Christine Aleknavich, 850-487-5014 Aleknavich.Christine@FLSenate.gov

Florida Housing Finance Corporations Newly Approved Program following Sotos Lead Tallahassee As legislation sponsored by Senator Darren Soto - intended to deliver long overdue help to Florida homeowners struggling to fend off foreclosure - continues to languish in the Republican-controlled legislature, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation is moving ahead with a key component of the Orlando Democrats stonewalled bill. Last week, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation board unanimously approved a pilot program that would include loans purchased in the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP). The program will begin in the Tampa Bay area and then expand to the Orlando and Ft.Lauderdale/Miami area. If the program proves successful, the approved $50 million budget will be expanded and will also include other loans outside of the DASP sales. While the new program launches on a limited basis, Senator Sotos bill should Republicans ever allow it to proceed through the legislative process would deliver similar relief to distressed homeowners statewide. SB 1236 would create the Mortgage Principal Reduction Act requiring that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation apply to the United States Department of the Treasury to request funds not to exceed $100 million from the federal Hardest-Hit Fund program. The Hardest Hit Program was established soon after the first election of President Barack Obama and contained roughly $1 billion in relief for struggling homeowners throughout Florida. The fund has remained largely ignored by state Republ icans, however, just as theyve repeatedly ignored legislation sponsored by Democrats attempting to reverse Floridas appalling rank in the nation as number one for home foreclosures. In the case of Senator Sotos bill, his legislation would tap those federal funds to create a new state program to reduce the principal on mortgages for Floridians whose homestead property in this state is in foreclosure. Sotos bill would require the corporation to use the allocated funds to

REPLY TO: 220 Senate Office Building, 404 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100 (850) 487-5014 Senates Website: www.flsenate.gov

DON GAETZ President of the Senate

GARRETT RICHTER President Pro Tempore

purchase delinquent mortgages on such property from lenders at a discount to reduce the mortgage principal amount due on the mortgage. I applaud the Florida Housing Finance Corporation for making a wise decision to assist Florida families in saving their homes, said Senator Soto. The Republican leadership needs to follow its lead and pass my bill to broaden the relief to homeowners facing foreclosure throughout Florida. So far this legislative session, the only foreclosure-related bill which appears green-lighted for passage is a Republican-sponsored measure accelerating bank home seizures by lessening court oversight. ###