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Latino Daily News

Tuesday November 22, 2011

Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD’s Homeowners’ Assistance Program

Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD’s Homeowners’ Assistance Program

Photo: Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD's Homeowners' Assistance Program

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A federal program that offered more than $1 billion to homeowners struggling to keep their homes, apparently helped three states in particular – Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania – though 32 states and U.S. territory Puerto Rico were open to the funds.

In the end, just over half of the $1 billion allotted was spent and while the number of people in need of assistance was high, less than 15,000 households were approved, while it was expected that at least 30,000 would receive help.

Though the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program was offered in the states (and Puerto Rico) based on population and unemployment, about half of the money spent went to Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initially sent $179 million to these three states, but an additional $46 million was sent after they went through the first allotment.

These states, along with Delaware and Idaho, were allowed to run their own programs as they already had similar programs already established in the states.

Among the other 27 states and territories, Puerto Rican homeowners in need benefited the most, with 72 percent of the 652 homeowners who applied for the program being accepted.

Though thousands of homeowners received assistance, legislators like Rep.  Barney Frank (D- Mass) say more could and should have been helped, but that the department’s late start in getting the program going and poor administration failed Americans.

“They dragged and dragged their feet,” Frank told the New York Times. “I believe it was not one of their priorities.”