Multimillion-dollar payments made earlier this year by five major mortgage servicers to the states were intended to provide a measure of restitution on behalf of homeowners who lost equity in the market collapse or lost their homes in the "robo-signing" foreclosure scandal.
But after the states split their $2.5 billion share of the landmark National Mortgage Settlement in February, less than half of the money states have allocated will be used as intended - to aid in stopping preventable foreclosures and financial fraud and to help stabilize communities scarred by the housing crisis, the Kansas City Star
Though states have announced plans to use $977 million of their direct payments for housing and foreclosure-related assistance, $989 million will go to fill budget shortfalls or for non-housing purposes, according to a report released Thursday by Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing and community development group.
The report, which updated an earlier analysis, found that six states - Missouri, California, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and New Jersey - ignored the agreed-upon uses for the money entirely by directing nothing for housing-related activities.
In Iowa, 93 percent of the $14.65 million received has been used for housing assistance programs, according to the report. It said that 23 states are using all, or nearly all, of their settlement money for housing.
Iowa has designated $1 million that will go to the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund; uses for the remaining $13.65 million include lending additional support to the Iowa Mortgage Help Hotline and Iowa Legal Aid, which provide services to affected homeowners. Additional eligible uses for funds include housing counseling, settlement implementation, public education, and future law enforcement needs.