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Ms. KILROY. I thank the chairman, and I thank the gentlelady, my colleague from Ohio, Congresswoman Kaptur, for bringing this bill forward.
You know, the hardest hit funds were put into place with the intention of assisting and helping people in States that have been hard hit by the foreclosure crisis that has enveloped this country, States like Ohio that have been hit for years over and over again with record foreclosures.
We have tried various ways to assist in this issue, and the President and the Treasury came up with and we approved the Hardest Hit Fund Program, H.R. 5510. That allows States to put together a plan for how they want to address the issue of foreclosures inside their own State. The States need to agree.
Now, some States wanted to include legal services in their plans and were not able to do it. States like Ohio were not able to do it, even though the use of attorneys in the process can be a very cost effective and useful way of moving the cases forward, of coming to agreement, of helping people come up with a plan and helping the banks to agree with it. Sometimes they are needed because there are egregious abuses on the other side in the foreclosure process that need to be addressed. But sometimes, in counties like mine, Franklin County, Ohio, where, when I was a county commissioner, we set up a court mediation process for foreclosures, lawyers are needed and useful in, again, bringing the parties together and helping them resolve the issues with respect to their mortgages, their refinancing, and their ability to keep their home, which is a major investment in their life. And keeping people in their homes also helps our communities. It helps our neighborhoods, because every time we have a foreclosure, we see crime going up and we see the value of their neighbors' properties going down.
This fix to allow Treasury to approve plans submitted by States that want to use legal services will help this process move forward in an effective, just, and cost-effective way.
I thank the gentleman.
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