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Florida governor Rick Scott recently signed a plan into law that would place money from a national foreclosure settlement between lenders and states into programs that help Florida homeowners. The plan allocates a $200 million portion of a $25 billion deal.

The deal closed investigations of foreclosure abuses by several of the nation’s biggest mortgage servicers. Some of the biggest servicers agreed to settle: Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., and Ally/GMAC. When the real-estate market crashed in 2008, mortgage companies were suddenly flooded with millions of foreclosures. Large mortgage servicers began processing loans using “robo-signers,” which were people who signed multiple documents. In most cases, they had no knowledge of what the paperwork contained. These mass signings led to inaccurate and fraudulent foreclosure filings by the banks.

Instead of putting the settlement money into general funds, the plan will put Florida’s share into programs that help homeowners directly. The programs include Habitat for Humanity, mortgage counseling services and legal aid groups. Florida was hit particularly hard by the 2008 foreclosure crisis. It currently has approximately a quarter of all foreclosures in the U.S. Some critics countered that the money should go to homeowners more directly. The Florida Attorney General countered by stating that funneling the money into programs would help to ensure that the money was used for its intended purpose, to benefit distressed homeowners.

Florida residents who are facing foreclosure may want to meet with an attorney that specializes in bankruptcy and foreclosure. An experienced attorney may be able help homeowners find a workable solution for their situation. Additionally, Florida homeowners who suspect that their foreclosure may have been handled improperly may want to check with an attorney. There may be programs, benefits or settlement money that Florida homeowners may be entitled to. An attorney may be able to help homeowners make their settlement claim.

Source: Huffington Post Miami, “Rick Scott Approves Use Of Foreclosure Settlement To Help Florida Homeowners“, James L. Risica, June 05, 2013