Ohio Seeks Federal Foreclosure Relief Funds

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Many are upset - and downrights miffed - by the Obama administration's decision not to include Ohio when it distributes funds recouped under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Those funds - paid back by banks that TARP bailed out in 2009 - were offered to the five states the administration deemed hit hardest by foreclosures - California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan.

Paul Bellamy, Director of Cuyahoga County's Foreclosure Prevention Program, says those states were chosen because they had the highest percentage of mortgages with negative or near-negative equity, where people owe more than the property is worth. Michigan was ranked fourth by that measure, while Ohio ranked only twelfth. But if you look at the actual numbers, rather than percentages, Bellamy says the picture is very different.

Bellamy: "What we found is, because Ohio has more Mortgages than Michigan does, the actual number of families that who are in trouble as a result of negative equity, or being underwater on their mortgages, is very comperable. We're right up their with Michigan."

Yesterday, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis took those calculations to Washington, and included them in testimony before a subcommittee chaired by Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, along with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Lake County Congressman Steve LaTourette and others, hope to convince the Obama administration to rethink its strategy for distributing recovered TARP funding for mortgage relief.

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