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CFO Sink Works to Protect Florida Homeowners and Boost Housing Market

4/15/2009

 
 
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Sink joined Florida Realtors® and Sadowski Workforce Housing Coalition members during two separate events today to promote her efforts to protect Florida homeowners. As a champion for homeowners, CFO Sink underscored her department’s My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program and efforts to address Florida’s high rate of home foreclosures. 
 
“My priority is to do everything I can to help shore up Florida’s housing market, because it is the key to real economic recovery in our state,” said CFO Sink. “We have to look at every innovative approach necessary to ensure that the American dream is alive and well in the sunshine state.”
 
Over the last two weeks, CFO Sink has outlined specific recommendations and efforts to ensure a healthy housing market in Florida:
 
·         My Safe Florida Home
 
The My Safe Florida Home program helps Floridians strengthen their homes against hurricanes and has completed more than 400,000 inspections and hardened more than 29,000 homes. Last week, CFO Sink stood with a bipartisan group of elected officials to urge the Legislature to continue the MSFH program, which would allow even more Floridians to lower their insurance rates and would create more jobs in our state. According to a new report by catastrophe risk experts Risk Management Solutions (RMS), for every grant dollar provided by the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program for strengthening Florida homes, hurricane losses are expected to reduce by as much as $1.50.This equates to a drop of around $140 million in total losses for the approximately 30,000 homes already retrofitted under the program – significantly more than the $93 million so far invested in grants.
 
"The My Safe Florida Home program been a great success and it continues to be a smart investment -- as a new study shows, hurricane losses are reduced by as much as $1.50 for every dollar invested in the program,” said CFO Sink at the press conference. “I am hopeful that lawmakers will consider this cost-saving measure that can best help Florida's homeowners in the future.”
 
·         Stemming Foreclosures
 
CFO Sink will bring together Florida lenders and attorneys with the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program next week in Tampa for a roundtable discussion on efforts to keep Floridians in their homes.  The roundtable, to be held April 20, 2009, will give lenders and pro bono lawyers the chance to discuss how to improve their communication and interaction as they work together to help Floridians facing the threat of foreclosure.
 
“As we are all aware, for a number of years Florida has been ground zero for the housing crisis faced by our country today,” said CFO Sink. “That’s why I continue to work to find all avenues possible to provide real, tangible help to Floridians facing the threat of foreclosure.”
 
·         Cracking Down on Mortgage Fraud
 
CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud has embedded a specialized Mortgage Fraud Division to fight fraud hurting Florida citizens, businesses and our economy.  CFO Sink’s Mortgage Fraud unit specializes in investigating and helping prosecute mortgage fraud across Florida by conducting aggressive outreach and education initiatives with state, federal and regulatory law enforcement agencies and by providing Consumer Services Community Outreach coordinators with information to educate consumers about how to prevent being taken in by this type of fraud.
 
“Mortgage fraud is a serious issue in our state and it negatively affects the housing market,” said CFO Sink. “When I took office, I immediately directed our Division of Insurance Fraud to dedicate more resources and increase their coordination with agencies at all levels of government to combat mortgage fraud, helping to protect Florida homeowners.” 
 
 
·         Supporting Affordable Housing
 
CFO Sink is a longtime supporter of the Sadowski Trust Fund, which prompted her to join members and a bipartisan group of elected officials in calling for a repeal of the cap on the trust fund. She has encouraged leaders to focus on taking full advantage of the aid to local governments from the Emergency Housing Act of 2008, while holding them accountable for their use of the funds to purchase foreclosed properties and provide down payment assistance in an effort to provide affordable housing opportunities for our citizens.
 
“Affordable housing is an essential element of Florida’s economic recovery, and we must be innovative in how we deliver affordable housing opportunities to the people of our state,” said CFO Sink. “We also have to take full advantage of housing aid to local governments and tax credits and money from the federal stimulus package, making sure these funds are being used in a smart and accountable way to provide affordable housing options for our citizens.”