/ Modified oct 30, 2013 2:05 p.m.

AZ Behind in Distributing Fed Housing Aid, US Auditors Say

State has been slow in dispersing funds to help struggling homeowners; AZ's rate was the second lowest among 18 states.

A new audit found Arizona lags behind other states in dispersing federal aid to struggling homeowners.

Arizona is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to receive money from the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

The audit, conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, found that Arizona had distributed merely 11 percent of the $267.8 million received in federal funds, giving it the second lowest rate compared to the other states.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury allocated $7.6 billion dollars to these 18 states and the District of Colombia, because they were areas where people were most hurt by the housing crisis.

The audit found collectively the states have drawn 35 percent of the funds, but not all of the money has been spent on assisting struggling homeowners.

In 2010, Arizona estimated it would help 11,959 homeowners avoid foreclosure using the funds. As of June 30, the audit found that the state had helped about 1,916 people and changed it's estimate to 6,507 homeowners.

Christy Romero, the special inspector general, said since the Hardest Hit Program rolled out in 2010 many Arizonans haven’t received the help they need.

“Ultimately it comes down to treasury and Arizona need(ing) to figure (it) out," Romero said. "And, they need to make changes right away to try to get these funds out in an effective and efficient manner to the distressed homeowners in Arizona because those homeowners don’t have time for Treasury and Arizona to get their act together in terms of getting a perfect program, which could take and year or more from now.”

The audit found Arizona has drawn $91.8 million of the funds allocated to it. The state has spent $30.3 million in assisting homeowners and $9.6 million on administrative expenses, and has $51.9 million cash-on-hand.

Read the audit here.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona