Ohio helps homeowners avoid foreclosure

A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home in Miami.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: The state of Ohio isn't waiting around for its people to lose their homes in foreclosure. Today, it launches a new program that'll give some homeowners with unaffordable mortgages a second chance. State-backed bonds will provide a pool of refinancing money. Marketplace's Steve Tripoli reports.


STEVE TRIPOLI: With the nation's highest rate of homes in foreclosure, the worry in Ohio goes beyond individual losses.

Rita Parise of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency says communities across the state have high numbers of vacant homes already.

RITA PARISE: What's going to happen to those homes? What's going to become of those buildings? Are they just going to sit there or are they going to become places that are magnets for crime?

A cycle of community unraveling is feared.

Parise says Ohio's high rate of risky subprime mortgages played a role.

PARISE: There is no question, in addition to having a very challenged economy, when you overlay that with very risky lending practices, that you increase the opportunities for failure.

The agency has set aside $100 million for these refinancing bonds, but Parise says officials are open to going higher.

Homeowners can apply starting today through the finance agency's statewide lending partners.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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