Rep. Joe Courtney sent a letter (PDF) to Gov. Jodi Rell expressing his disappointment in the way DECD foreclosure assistance funds are being allocated, saying that many hard-hit eastern Connecticut towns are being overlooked.
The problem seems to be that the $25 million in federal funds, which are being distributed by DECD, are being allocated based on total number of foreclosures in a town, rather than by the percentage of homes foreclosed in a town. For example, the town with the highest foreclosure rate is Plainfield, but that town isn’t getting any assistance from DECD. No other eastern Connecticut town is receiving assistance, as well.
Said Courtney in his letter:
I am troubled that the DECD proposal allocated the $25 million not based on foreclosure rates, but by the number of foreclosures. Ignoring the proper criteria would leave some of the hardest hit towns in Connecticut — many of which are in eastern Connecticut — without any NSP funds. I voted for the Housing Economic and Recovery Act (HERA) in July 2008 because I wanted small and large towns and cities across Connecticut facing high rates of foreclosure and delinquency to receive assistance to revitalize their communities.
To give you an idea of why this is a problem, I’m putting up the Connecticut cartogram (which illustrates town size by their relative population instead of area) with Courtney’s district highlighted in green (click to see the whole image):
As you can see, despite this district taking up a little less than half of the total area of the state, it’s population is only about a fifth of the total (if that). There are an awful lot of small towns, so the total number of foreclosures in any given town will be small. That certainly doesn’t mean that the area isn’t hit hard by foreclosures. The opposite seems to be the case, and that’s why Courtney has been suggesting fixes. You can see the full text of the letter here.
Update: A Rell spokesman has accused Courtney of “grandstanding” on the plan.