Ohio added to new federal foreclosure prevention program

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Ohio added to new federal foreclosure prevention program

Plain Dealer – Ohio will be added to a new federal foreclosure prevention program that's meant to help states with high unemployment rates address the foreclosure crisis.

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown announced today that Ohio will get $172 million under the "Help for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets" program that the White House launched on Feb. 19 with $1.5 billion of money originally designated to help out troubled banks.

"This is a victory for Ohio communities," Brown said in a press release. "Ohio is at the frontline of the foreclosure crisis and should have all the resources necessary to rebuild our communities."

The initial phase of the program was designated for states where property values had taken the greatest tumbles: California, Nevada, Florida, Arizona and Michigan.

Numerous Ohio public officials including Brown objected that Ohio should get relief from the program, too, given that nearly half the mortgage holders in the state owe more to their lender than their homes are worth.

In 2009, Ohio experienced a record 89.053 foreclosures, an increase of 3.8 percent over 2008, and nearly one sixth are either in foreclosure or thirty days past due on their mortage, according to a letter that Brown wrote Obama to seek Ohio‘s inclusion.

"By almost any metric, Ohio has been ravaged by the foreclosure crisis, which is why many Ohioans are dismayed by Ohio’s absence from the list of states targeted for help," said a separate letter that Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich and a dozen other Ohio members of Congress sent to Obama.

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