March 30, 2010
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Ohio Housing Finance Agency

 

Today, Ohioans have renewed hope to save their homes and neighborhoods from the blight of foreclosure. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) will receive $172 million dollars in new federal funding designed to help homeowners. OHFA will work with Save the Dream Ohio partners and organizations throughout the state to administer these funds.
 
This follows the announcement by the Obama Administration that Ohio is one of five additional states to receive a total of nearly $600 million from the federal government’s Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets. The Administration had previously awarded $1.5 billion to Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. These new funds will support additional efforts in Ohio, as well as North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
 
Kimberly A. Zurz, who is the Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Chair of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force, and the OHFA Board Chairperson, said that OHFA is already working with Governor Ted Strickland and Save the Dream Ohio to develop new initiatives.
 
 “Governor Ted Strickland and other state leaders have been strong advocates for Ohio to receive this vital assistance,” said Director Zurz. “We are grateful that the Obama Administration recognizes that Ohio has been greatly impacted by the economic downturn. Now, with funding in place, Save the Dream Ohio partners are eager to develop new initiatives to help Ohioans keep their homes.”
 
Save the Dream Ohio, which was introduced in March 2008, is a unique, multi-agency program. It works with 37 HUD-certified housing counseling agencies as well as legal aid societies and pro-bono associations to help Ohioans facing foreclosure receive the help they need. Since Save the Dream Ohio began, the program has received more than 52,000 calls to the hotline and tens of thousands of Ohioans have received housing counseling and/or legal assistance through Save the Dream Ohio or one of its partners.
 
 “We are looking forward to working with our partners to develop a plan for the State of Ohio that ensures every dollar of this funding benefits troubled homeowners,” said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver. “These funds have been allocated at a critical time in the state’s history, and it is fundamental that we keep unemployed and underemployed Ohioans in their homes.” In addition to reviewing the guidelines surrounding the distribution of new federal funding, OHFA will administer the funds to help Ohio’s homeowners.

Ohio will receive the third largest allocation of Hardest Hit funds to date as part of the U.S. Treasury’s second round of funding. The first round, announced February 19, 2010, went to states with home price declines of more than 20 percent. The second round of funding, announced March 29, 2010, goes to states with the highest share of their population living in counties in which the unemployment rate exceeded 12 percent in 2009.
 
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency will work with partners throughout the state to create a funding proposal for the Hardest Hit Fund. The U.S. Treasury requires state housing agencies to develop programs that focus on unemployment programs, mortgage modifications, short sale programs, principal reduction programs, and second lean reductions. The Treasury will issue additional proposal guidance within the next two weeks.
 
Homeowners who need assistance can contact Save the Dream Ohio toll-free at 888-404-4674 or they can visit the website at www.savethedream.ohio.gov.