Puerto Rico Receives Mixed Messages From Treasury, FHA

first_img The U.S. Treasury cut a disaster relief loan to Puerto Rico by over 50 percent this week, according to the island’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello. This relief fund of $4.7 billion was provided in October, during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and has now been reduced to $2 billion. An official statement from the Treasury said that the move was made in an attempt to safeguard the investment of federal taxpayers, according to CBS News.In a letter asking Congress to intervene, Rossello said the loan reduction will put the island in a “dangerous financial dilemma” and cautioned that the diminished funds could force Puerto Rico to cut some essential services. “Any material interruption to Puerto Rico’s public services will only exacerbate outmigration of its population to the mainland and further deepen and prolong Puerto Rico’s decade-old fiscal and economic crisis,” Rossello said.Congress originally approved the community disaster loan as part of a larger relief package designed to aid recovery from Hurricane Maria as well as the earlier Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Puerto Rico still has not received the loan funds, and Rossello criticized the new restrictions the Treasury is seeking to apply to the loan, saying they will make it “extremely difficult for Puerto Rico to access these funds when it needs federal assistance the most.” Rossello added that Treasury officials had indicated they did not intend to forgive the loan. (According to former Treasury officials cited by Bloomberg, “about 90 to 95 percent” of community disaster loans are eventually forgiven.)CBS News reports that Treasury Department and FEMA told Puerto Rican officials in January that the loan was being temporarily withheld due to concerns that the Puerto Rican government was not actually “facing a cash shortage as it had previously warned.” Allegedly, the loan funds would be disbursed via the Community Disaster Loan Program once Puerto Rican’s funds drop below a certain amount. In his letter to Congress, Rossello chastised the “misguided delay and policy decisions contrary to Congressional intent.”In addition to the physical damages caused by the storms, Puerto Rico is also facing a potential foreclosure epidemic. The New York Times in December reported that one-third of Puerto Rico’s 425,000 homeowners were behind on their mortgage payments, with around 90,000 borrowers having become delinquent as a result of Hurricane Maria. In early February, HUD announced a $1.5 billion grant to Puerto Rico, designed to “support long-term recovery of seriously damaged housing and local businesses in Puerto Rico.”To provide further relief to the victims of Hurricane Maria, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Thursday declared a 60-day extension to the foreclosure moratoriums implemented after the storm. This extension has been announced for the Presidentially declared disaster areas, according to a media statement. The extension is also available for those directly affected by the disaster or unable to make mortgage payments as a consequence of the disaster.This news comes after FHA last week introduced the Disaster Standalone Partial Claim, which will enable lenders to secure an interest-free second loan on the mortgage to help cover up to 12 months’ worth of missed payments.  The loan is payable when the borrower sells their home or refinances their mortgage.  Print This Post Puerto Rico Receives Mixed Messages From Treasury, FHA The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago About Author: Staff Writer Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Foreclosure, Government, Headlines, Journal, News Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Subscribe Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: The Housing Market’s Long March to Recovery Next: The Best and Worst States for Property Taxes The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago March 1, 2018 1,769 Views Department of the Treasury Disaster Relief Federal Housing Administration FHA Hurricane Maria hurricanes Natural Disasters Puerto Rico 2018-03-01 Staff Writer Tagged with: Department of the Treasury Disaster Relief Federal Housing Administration FHA Hurricane Maria hurricanes Natural Disasters Puerto Rico Home / Daily Dose / Puerto Rico Receives Mixed Messages From Treasury, FHAlast_img read more

COVID-19 crisis exposes holes in social aid disbursement

first_imgThe COVID-19 crisis has exposed fundamental problems in the distribution of social assistance, particularly the lack of reliable recipient data, as the government scrambles to shield the most-affected parts of society from economic pain.The initial phase of social aid disbursement was far from smooth sailing after reports emerged about slow or mistargeted distribution amid red tape and a lack of coordination among central and regional governments.Read also: Social aid feud between central govt, city leaves some poor Jakartans in limbo However, they proved to be too sluggish in the database upkeep, and the current health crisis has become its unraveling.“The economic crisis caused by the pandemic should serve as a marker for all stakeholders to improve the data collection system, so that aid programs can be managed well both under normal circumstances and in times of shock, as is currently the case,” Athia said.Read also: Poverty elimination back to square one as COVID-19 wipes past progress: ExpertsThe Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) deputy for prevention, Pahala Nainggolan, said the agency had urged regional authorities to use citizenship identification numbers (NIK) to clamp down on mistargeted aid disbursement, which he also said was the result of outdated DTKS data.Pahala argued that a lack of urgency among regional authorities to update their datasets had resulted in mistargeted distribution.“We see huge inefficiencies [in aid distribution], with stories of poor people [not getting their share of relief] due to inaccurate data,” he said.The KPK is working together with various stakeholders to monitor aid distribution and disbursement. It issued a circular on April 21 instructing the relevant ministries and regional officials to use the DTKS database as the first reference for distributing aid.In the event of data discrepancies, the circular instructs that aid should only be disbursed to beneficiaries who meet the criteria, while new data should be submitted to the Social Affairs Ministry.Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara acknowledged on Tuesday the difficulties in data collection at the local level, with various social assistance programs running simultaneously and from different stakeholders, including among Cabinet ministries and from city, regency and provincial governments.He also admitted to a lack of coordination that had caused problems in the initial phase of aid distribution but insisted that regional authorities would take care of any data glitches.Read also: ‘Not our responsibility’: Minister fends off criticism of COVID-19 social aid distributionPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed the relevant parties to solve the data discrepancies and simplify disbursement procedures, so that the aid packages could be quickly distributed.The government has allocated Rp 172.1 trillion for social safety net programs to alleviate the economic strain caused by the restrictions aimed at curbing COVID-19.The funds are supposed to be disbursed through regular and nonregular social safety net schemes, which include the Family Hope Program (PKH), basic food cards and staple food packages for 1.9 million households in Greater Jakarta.Some of the funds will go to 9 million households outside of Greater Jakarta through direct cash transfers.Nonregular schemes are meant only for residents who meet the government’s aid recipient criteria but have yet to be recorded in the DTKS database.The government has identified 8.3 million households that are eligible for direct cash transfers outside Greater Jakarta, which Juliari expects will be disbursed with the help of the postal service by Saturday.Topics : The root cause of the problem, left unresolved for years, was the sluggish pace at which regional governments regularly update their list of beneficiaries, said Athia Yumna, a researcher at Jakarta-based SMERU Research Institute.“Poverty is dynamic in nature. People who were poor last month could be better off this month, and people who thrived last month may become poor this month due to COVID-19. That is why regular updates of the database are necessary,” said Athia.The disbursement of all state-sponsored social assistance falls under the purview of the Social Affairs Ministry’s Integrated Data for Social Welfare (DTKS), which was built upon a 2015 Statistics Indonesia (BPS) survey that sought to map out the distribution of wealth in the bottom 40 percent of the population.The survey was the last of its kind to date, with the central government opting to give regional administrations the mandate to regularly update the database for their respective areas.last_img read more

2015 IMCA point season ends on Sept. 27

first_imgVINTON, Iowa – The 2015 IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season for seven sanctioned divisions ends on Sunday, Sept. 27.Final races are scheduled that day for Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Eagle Motorsports RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Mach-1 Sport Compacts.Bonus points for applicable track and/or special series champi­onships will be figured and national champions and rook­ies of the year announced as soon as possible.Local track officials will have until noon Central Standard Time on Monday, Oct. 26 to notify IMCA of corrections that affect their top 15 point standings before all standings for those divisions become official.Final weekly events for the 2015 IMCA Late Model point season will be Sunday, Aug. 30.The national champion and unofficial state and local track champions will be announced as soon as all race reports from that weekend are received and tabulated.Late Model point standings become official at noon CST on Monday, Sept. 28.Any questions about IMCA point totals and standings should be directed to Virginia Lindsey, director of membership and points, at [email protected] or by calling 319 472-2201, ext. 215.last_img read more