When struggling with debt and trying to stay in one’s home, the hope that so-called relief programs will actually provide relief is what can make it easier to get through the day, look toward the future. Unfortunately, it sounds like struggling homeowners facing foreclosure in Florida have been not met relief but disappointment with what was hoped to be a helpful program.
Compared to most other states in the U.S., Florida’s rate of foreclosure and its overall real estate hardship are relatively significant. With so many people about to lose their homes, the government came up with the Florida foreclosure mediation program. Recently compiled data reveals that the program provided an underwhelming amount of help.
In 2009, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that foreclosure mediation was required as a means to try to keep homeowners in their homes, a way to give all parties a chance to come to an agreement regarding loan modifications. The mediations would involve the lenders and the borrowers, possibly attorneys as well, sitting and trying to come to a win-win compromise.
What was supposed to have been a winning program, however, has led to a still high rate of lost Florida homes. Out of the many borrowers who were facing the risk of foreclosure, only about 41 percent of them were even contacted in regard to setting up mediation. And all of those people certainly didn’t actually get to try the program or benefit from it.
Reports show that out of the many thousands of foreclosure cases in the Florida between March and November 2010, a disappointing 4 percent of the cases ended in some sort of mediated negotiation. Critics describe the statistic in different ways. One woman calls it “incredibly disheartening,” whereas someone else attributes the sad number to “growing pains” of the program.
Hopefully, it is just growing pains and that means the program will grow into becoming a true source of hope for homeowners. But it certainly sounds as though tweaks to the current system are necessary.
Feel free to share your opinions about this program. Maybe you have ideas about how it could be fixed in order to become more effective.
The Miami Herald: “Slow start for Florida’s mediation program,” 27 Apr. 2011