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Federal foreclosure aid available, but Florida fails to act

Some people might reasonably be scratching their heads in wonderment as to why Florida state officials failed to apply for federal foreclosure funding that could have brought an infusion of $250 million into the state for distressed homeowners.

One of those people is U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), who calls state officials' failure to act "tragic for Florida homeowners who are fighting to keep their homes."

Florida's foreclosure nightmare is no secret, with legions of homeowners in Miami and across the state having faced -- and continuing to face -- monumental home-related problems in recent years. A recent Orlando Sentinel article spotlights Florida as "one of the country's top states for foreclosures during the historic housing bust."

That reality has rendered a high level of financial assistance made available through federal programs a flat imperative. Along with select other states, Florida was designated several ago as a so-called "Hardest Hit" state qualifying for a large infusion of funds earmarked for beleaguered homeowners. No application was required for approval or receipt under that program, and Florida will ultimately receive about $1 billion under its terms.

Criticism is now being leveled, though, at state officials' failure to take advantage of a new program -- with its deadline now having expired -- that did require application. As noted above, Florida's passivity likely kept hundreds of millions of dollars from flowing to homeowners who desperately need it.

There is no question that foreclosure continues to be a problem of outsized dimensions across the state, with high numbers of property owners still facing material challenges.

Florida residents having questions or concerns regarding foreclosure-related issues might reasonably want to contact a proven Miami debt-relief attorney for advice and, when necessary, strong legal representation geared toward the full protection of their legal interests.

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