Gov. Nathan Deal is not using nearly the nearly $100 million Georgia received to prevent foreclosures for its intended use.
Georgia and all the other states received money through a major foreclosure fraud settlement with five banks. According to the settlement, the money is to be used for foreclosure prevention and housing programs. Georgia received $99.4 million.
Gov. Deal and the state legislature decided to divert the money to two state economic development agencies, OneGeorgia Authority and the Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) Fund.
When asked about the decision at a recent news conference Gov. Deal said, "The best way to help foreclosure victims is to make sure they have jobs."
But Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta said he doesn't think the money intended for struggling homeowners should go to corporations.
"To use that money for what amounts to a slush fund in unfortunate," said Fort.
Kate Little, of the Georgia State Trade Association of Nonprofit Developers said Gov. Deal is "misusing" the money.
Little believes the money should be used to invest in neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosures. Little said acquiring and rehabilitating homes puts properties back on tax rolls which helps local governments.
"People who live in areas impacted by foreclosures are having their property values affected so this affects all of us," said Little.
The OneGeorgia Authority will receive 40 percent of the settlement funds with 60 percent going to the REBA Fund. Little criticized the decision to divert money to the OneGeorgia Authority because the agency works to lure businesses to rural communities which are not the communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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