• Despite dropping rates, foreclosures and vacant properties remain a concern throughout the state of Florida and the Miami metro region.
  • The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is offering a free assistance program to homeowners in the state faced with foreclosure.
  • The Foreclosure Counseling Program offers counseling and financial education in a face-to-face setting.
A foreclosed property

rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Despite dropping rates, Florida remains one of the worst afflicted states with home foreclosure. To combat the issue, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) is offering a free service for struggling homeowners faced with foreclosure.

The Foreclosure Counseling Program is available to residents throughout all 67 Florida counties for free. The service includes a face-to-face meeting to determine the best route to help families save their homes. The counseling service also includes financial education.

“Unfortunately, there are homeowners throughout the state of Florida that face the real possibility of foreclosure,” Florida Housing Communications Director Cecka Rose Green said. “The FCP is designed to not only provide housing counseling to help with possible foreclosure avoidance, but also extensive financial counseling services that can help them become more financially stable.”

In September, Attom Data Solutions reported the home vacancy rate in South Florida to be at 3.5 percent, or a total of 19,551. In Miami, there were a total of 694 zombie, or vacant, foreclosures.

In a report released by CoreLogic on July foreclosures throughout the country, the state of Florida lead the nation with 57,000 completed foreclosures.

According to Attom, Florida had a total of 5,880 vacant REO properties at the end of the third quarter of 2016. Miami was one of the most concentrated markets, the report showed, with 4,661 vacant REOs.

The counseling program will help prevent homeowners from going into foreclosure and provide at-risk homeowners with education. According to the Florida Foreclosure Counseling Program, homeowners get help with “with good financial management education to help them better manage their money and assist them with credit problems to become financially stable.”

The program is implemented from funds through the state’s National Mortgage Settlement funds, which is a $10 million allocation from Florida Legislation from 2013.

Email Kimberly Manning

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