Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., is loudly criticizing state officials who have mismanaged funds that were supposed to help troubled Georgia homeowners. The money came as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Lewis has long maintained that the program was not helping Georgians who were hardest hit.
Lewis asked the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) to audit the state-run Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), and the audit showed that the program was “shamefully managed.”
In a press release sent to rolling out, Lewis states:
“Struggling homeowners expected, demanded, and deserved for government officials not only to hold those who created these crises accountable but also to do all they could to help homeowners recover. In response to the Great Recession, Congress provided desperately needed resources to help families stay in their homes. The responsibility then fell to State agencies to ensure that homeowners received the assistance Congress authorized. SIGTARP’s report shows that the HomeSafe Georgia program was shamefully managed. Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings, too many Georgian communities never received the assistance they expected and deserved. Time and time again, the agency failed to reach Georgia homeowners, who only sought the help promised to them. Sadly, we know that African-American communities shouldered the worst of the foreclosure crisis and face the slowest recovery. Too many homeowners continue to struggle through no fault of their own. They were robbed of their nest egg — their pathway to the middle class — and in many cases, working parents were stripped of their children’s inheritance. This is their reality, and for many it is devastating. Today, I thank Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and everyone on her team for responding to repeated calls for accountability and justice. Every second makes the difference to those who are struggling to keep a roof over their head. Now that we have the facts before us, I hope that the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and State leaders will find the will and the way to do what is right, what is just, and what is long overdue to serve and protect Georgian homeowners.”