Bay State to receive $70M in foreclosure help
Federal legislation aimed at rescuing homeowners affected by the ongoing foreclosure crisis is expected to bring about $70 million into Massachusetts.
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., revealed the amount during a conference call Thursday morning that included fellow Massachusetts Democrats Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Sen. John Kerry and U.S. Rep. Nikki Tsongas.
The legislation, which the House approved Wednesday, will pour $3.9 billion into grants aimed at devastated neighborhoods nationwide, aiding some 400,000 homeowners. The bill also a bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two struggling lenders that hold nearly half the country’s mortgage debt.
Capuano did not say how the money would be distributed.
Patrick welcomed the assistance for Massachusetts homeowners and asked for the infusion to come as quickly as possible.
“We’ll give you wire transfer instructions, we don’t have time to wait for the check in the mail,” Patrick joked.
Details of the state’s share of the foreclosure rescue came as the four lawmakers announced the distribution of $26.7 million in federal Community Development Block Grants for 55 communities.
That money will be used primarily to make repairs and improvements to infrastructure and housing rehabilitation for low- and middle-income families.
None of the are targeted for Fall River or the immediate area. Dartmouth received a $505,337 grant to rehabilitate 10 housing units and remove an architectural barrier.
The majority of funds are pegged for cities and towns in central and western Massachusetts.
While the CDBG funds will not reach most SouthCoast towns, homeowners seeking to prevent foreclosure will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their lenders on August 12.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will host a foreclosure prevention workshop at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro from 1 to 8 p.m. that afternoon.
The free event is billed as “an opportunity for homeowners who are in financial distress, or concerned about foreclosure, to sit down with their lender face-to-face, and avoid foreclosure if possible.”
According to most recent numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Fall River had a 0.79 percent foreclosure rate in 2007. The state as a whole had a foreclosure rate of 0.36 percent.
Homeowners will also have the option of meeting with housing and credit counselors at the workshop.
Patrick said Thursday the efforts to stop the foreclosure bleeding will have far-reaching benefits that go beyond keeping people in their homes.
The first-term governor said the creation of affordable housing eases the burden on people in danger of foreclosure and alleviates doubts businesses may have about attracting and retaining employees.
E-mail Will Richmond at firstname.lastname@example.org.