Attorney General: $23 million for housing relief

87519316Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced Wednesday that $23 million of the state’s National Mortgage Settlement funds will be used to support affordable housing programs for residents seeking relocation.

The funds, which are a portion of the $51.2 million in state settlement funds, will  be used primarily to aid those living in the areas directly affected by the wildfires and floods of 2013, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s office.

“Since the National Mortgage Settlement took effect in February 2012, Colorado’s economy has improved, foreclosures have dramatically decreased and the housing market in most of the state is rebounding,” Suthers said in the release.

“The National Mortgage Settlement has been a key factor in this improving housing market. $425 million in loan modifications in Colorado helped 7,500 Coloradans avoid foreclosure.”

The release shows overall settlement funds distributed as follows:

  • Colorado Foreclosure Hotline: $1.1 million
  • Colorado Legal Services: $1.5 million
  • Housing Counseling support: $5.625 million
  • Enforcement and monitoring: $750,000
  • Affordable housing: $18.2 million
  • Supplemental loan programs: $24 million

The $23 million in relocation support was created in part by an underutilization of Housing Counseling Support and Supplemental Loan Programs spurred by an improving housing market, according to the release.

However, the release explains that while the residential home-buying market has improved, lower vacancy rates and a “rental crunch” have made it difficult for disaster victims to find affordable housing.

“The $18.2 million originally allocated to affordable housing under the settlement has been utilized to provide loans for 10 affordable housing projects across the state involving 900 units and for the repurposing of Fort Lyons as a residential treatment center,” officials said in the release.

The funds will be administered through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing.

“This investment will provide affordable housing statewide for working families, seniors, formerly homeless persons, and persons with disabilities and repair and construct housing for victims of September’s floods,” Pat Coyle, director of the division of housing, said in the release.

“This is a major step forward in meeting the growing needs of affordable housing in Colorado.”