Idaho received more than $13 million in a national, multi-billion dollar mortgage settlement reached early this year. But the state has committed only a fraction of that amount to housing programs and alleviating the effects of the housing crisis.
The historic mortgage settlement was the result of negotiations between states’ attorneys general and five of the nation’s largest banks. It was the banks’ atonement for the mortgage and foreclosure practices that contributed to the housing crisis.
Idaho’s share of the settlement was more than $110 million. Much of that money was earmarked for borrowers, but the state itself received $13.3 million. Now, homeowner advocates in Idaho are crying foul because only half a million of that has been appropriated for housing programs.
Brett DeLange heads the Consumer Protection Division of the Idaho attorney general’s office. He says what to do with the money is up to Idaho lawmakers. “It’s something for the legislature to weigh,” he said. “And so far they’ve weighed it, and the way they’ve done it is with the appropriation they’ve done to-date.”
The Idaho State Bar’s Volunteer Legal Program, Idaho Legal Aid Services, and Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho are among the groups that will receive funding from the $500,000 the legislature has designated for housing programs. So far, the rest of the state’s allocation remains in the general fund.
A number of groups in Idaho that advocate for homeowners told StateImpact they were unhappy that more of the state’s settlement money hasn’t been put toward addressing the fallout of the housing crisis. However, none wanted to speak for attribution because they fear jeopardizing future funding opportunities and relationships with the legislature and state attorney general’s office.
Idaho is not the only state to divert its settlement money for other uses. According to a recent report, only 27 states have committed all of the dollars received in the settlement to homeowners or housing programs.