Three members of Georgia's congressional delegation have called on the state's governor to revert his decision to channel Georgia's direct payment funds from the National Mortgage Settlement away from housing-related programs.
On March 26, Gov. Nathan Deal's office announced that the $99 million in National Mortgage Settlement direct payment funds were committed to the state's Department of Economic Development. The text of the settlement specifically requires that the direct payment funds be used in programs related to assisting distressed homeowners.
‘I cannot understand how an elected representative with millions available to him in these hard economic times would not use that money to ease the burden foreclosure has placed on thousands of Georgians,’ says Rep. John Lewis, who joined with Reps. Hank Johnson and David Scott in petitioning Deal to restore the funds to their intended purpose. ‘We understand some states have decided to divert these necessary funds and use them for other purposes, but we are appealing to the governor to apply these resources to services the people in one of the hardest-hit states desperately need.’
‘Georgia led the nation in foreclosures in May,’ adds Scott. ‘The state economy will not improve unless we can stabilize neighborhoods and bring back property values. For example, teachers and school employees are being laid off due to dropping property tax revenues. Using these settlement funds for other projects is ignoring the core economic problem in suburban Atlanta.’
‘These funds should be used to relieve the suffering of Georgia's homeowners, period,’ says Johnson. ‘Any other use violates the public interest and the spirit of the consent judgment.’