Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is trying to decide how to direct $300 million designated to be spent on foreclosure prevention programs. The money is part of $8.4 billion in cash and mortgage relief slated for the state from the nationwide foreclosure settlement announced in February.

The money must be spent on foreclosure prevention programs and can be used to hire housing counselors, set up state and local foreclosure assistance hotlines, create foreclosure mediation programs, provide legal assistance and train and staff financial fraud or consumer protection enforcement efforts.

Tens of thousands of Floridians are expected to benefit from a $25 billion nationwide settlement with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America and Ally Financial. That agreement was forged by attorneys general from several state who waived the right to pursue some civil complaints against the banks. Criminal prosecution and claims by individual homeowners are still allowed.

John Lucas, Bondi's press secretary, said the attorney general's office is in the early stages of gathering public input and there is no estimate yet for how many homeowners will be helped with the $300 million.

"Florida is one of the hardest-hit states in the country in terms of foreclosures, and I'd like to hear from Floridians about ways we can help homeowners and offset the devastation caused by the foreclosure crisis," Bondi stated.

Through next Monday, residents can send suggestions for how to use the money to Attorney General Bondi's office by going to www.MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 866-966-7226.

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