Commentary: Some relief from foreclosures on the way

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

When Congress passed a huge housing-stimulus package last summer, Florida was earmarked to receive $541 million. Most of the money must be used to buy bank-owned homes already in foreclosure at a minimum of 15 percent below their appraised value. The homes then must be rehabbed and put back on the market with working-class families the targeted buyers. The state can use every cent, considering it has one of nation's highest foreclosure rates.

South Florida stands to benefit the most – but only because it is hurting the most. Miami-Dade County will get $62.2 million, with its large cities receiving several million more to spend separately. Likewise, Broward County will have $17.7 million for unincorporated areas and small cities, with large cities getting separate grants from U.S. HUD, overseer of the neighborhood-stabilization program.

Make no mistake, this is no major bailout. At most, officials say, the grants will purchase several hundred homes to be fixed up and resold in both counties. But every dollar helps. So will news that Citigroup is including South Florida in its plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.