Ohio is keeping its effort to secure $200 million of a multi-billion dollar foreclosure settlement between banking giant JP Morgan & Chase Co. and the U.S. Department of Justice going but adding a strategy to achieve the proposal.
Frank Ford, a senior policy adviser with the Thriving Communities Institute, said the continued push for part of the settlement will include inviting the settlement's administrator - responsible for making sure expenditures by JP Morgan meet the terms of the agreement - to Ohio, ''to clarify what is allowable.''
Meanwhile, a letter-writing campaign from key state officials will continue to impress upon JP Morgan CEO James Dimon the importance of funding the ''Ohio Plan,'' said Ford.
JP Morgan has turned away the proposal by Ohio officials that divides the settlement request between demolition, foreclosure prevention, home renovation and re-purposing land that is vacant because of demolition.
''Our goal was to put together a document that met the needs of the state, reflected the diversity of the state, reflected the different kinds of real estate markets in the state, reflected the different type of damage that was done,'' said Ford. ''We were care to not develop a one-size-fits-all type of plan.''
Of the $4 billion, JP Morgan will provide in consumer relief, at least one-half will be provided as principal forgiveness and mortgage deferment, according to a letter from the financial services provider to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who is among a group of officials that includes U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, supportive of the Ohio Plan.
With the ''vast majority'' of the rest of the $2 billion, JP Morgan intends to help low-to-moderate-income families with affordable homeownership and reducing interest rates for struggling homeowners.
Jim Rokakis, the former treasurer of Cuyahoga County and Thriving Communities Institute director, said the money being spent by JP Morgan is ''internal, soft money'' on a plan they were already doing.
''For them to not make any hard dollars available in Ohio, it's really a tragedy,'' said Rokakis.
Matt Martin, director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, said ''if we are still just clamoring for demolition dollars in 10 years, they we've pretty much failed. We need more demolition money because we are not quite halfway there yet getting rid of the properties that are beyond salvage, which in turn are destroying the property values of the ones that are salvageable, occupied or otherwise.''
The plan offering to spend $40 million to renovate homes and re-purpose vacant land is a trend of using some money gotten to fight the result of the foreclosure crisis for uses other than demolition. It's a trend Martin said he appreciates.
Moving Ohio Forward dollars, received by Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office through a national mortgage settlement, were distributed for demolition only. A second funding program, this one the federal Hardest Hit, expands the funding use to include some post-demolition work, like community gardens and passive park space.
TNP has applied for some of the Hardest Hit dollars. A funding announcement will be made on Feb. 28.