Less than half of the $2.5 billion that states received from a national settlement six months ago —stemming from mortgage lenders’ misdeeds, including “robo-signing” — has been spent on housing-related activities, according to a study released this month by Enterprise Community Partners Inc.
“Direct payments to the states were intended to help prevent foreclosures, stabilize communities, and prevent or prosecute financial fraud,” wrote Andrew Jakabovics and William McHale in the report. “To date, states have announced plans to spend $966 million for housing and foreclosure-related activities, while $988 million has been diverted to states’ general funds or for non-housing uses.” Just under $600 million still needs to be allocated.
Six states — California, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and New Jersey — have put all of the money they received from the settlement into their general funds, according to Enterprise, an affordable housing nonprofit founded in Columbia by renowned developer James Rouse and his wife, Patty.
Maryland is among the 23 states that are “using all or substantially all their funds for housing,” the report concluded. Maryland received over $50 million from the settlement, and is using 90 percent of the funds for housing-related expenses. Ten percent of the funds were considered civil penalty payments and went to the state treasury, Enterprise said.
Here’s how Maryland has decided to divide the rest of the funds, according to Enterprise: $14 million will go to neighborhood stabilization programs, $10 million will be spent on anti-blight programs, $8.6 million will go to housing counseling, $6.2 million will be spent on legal aid, $2.1 million will go to additional staff in the attorney general’s consumer protection office and $2.1 million will pay for more employees in state financial regulation division.
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