Jonathan Sweet is the editor in chief of Professional Remodeler, an award-winning trade publication for remodelers and home improvement contractors. He started his career covering homes and small businesses at a daily newspaper and has spent more than a decade writing for several construction trade publications including Qualified Remodeler, Construction Pro and Concrete Contractor+Jonathan Sweet

Watchdog: Government's 'Hardest Hit' Housing Program Falling Short

Excuse me if you've heard this before ...

In what we can't exactly call a surprise, another government program aimed at helping underwater homeowners is falling well short of it's goal.

This time it's the Obama administration's "Hardest Hit" program, which was announced in 2010 that targeted states and communities most affected by the housing crisis.

In a report issued today by the Special Inspector General for TARP, the program was found to have spent only $217 million of its $7.6 billion budget and helped only 30,600 homeowners.

As much as I love to see federal programs come in under budget -- it's kind of like the cicadas coming out once every 17 years -- it shows just how difficult it has been for any government programs to get traction in the housing market.

The reasons for the failure seem to be similar to those slowing other programs: limited participation by banks, resistance by the GSEs to mortgage writedowns and just the general bureaucratic problems involved in any government program.

If you're in the mood for a little light reading, the full 76-page report is available here.

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