Five states rush plans for $1.5 billion in housing funds

PHOENIX - The five states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis have been given only weeks to plan how to spend $1.5 billion in federal funding announced by the Obama administration last month. Guidelines issued under the U.S. Treasury Department's Fund for Hardest Hit Housing Markets on March 5 gave housing finance agencies in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Michigan just six weeks to come up with plans on how to spend their share of the money. The rush could be problematic for the states, especially because Treasury is seeking "innovative" measures to help families facing foreclosure. But some experts have been urging the administration to try the approach, believing it will be helpful and that it can be done quickly.

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