From foreclosed to sold - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

From foreclosed to sold

By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hundreds of thousands of federal dollars will soon pour into the city of Albany to get empty foreclosed houses off the market and get people into new homes. With that grant money and some teamwork, the city hopes to improve neighborhoods and help deserving families.  

It's a plan that's been in the works for some years now. Meetings were held with everyone from realtors to bankers and as a result the city learned they could get more bang for their buck by teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to fix up of some empty, foreclosed homes.

It's the "F" word more people are seeing these days--foreclosure. The city of Albany is no exception. "There are a number of those properties in Albany," said Albany Director of Community and Economic Development Latoya Cutts.

Dozens of foreclosed properties were identified as Community and Economic Development leaders applied for the neighborhood stabilization program grant. "It's actually used to address issues with foreclosure," said Cutts.

$800,000 in Housing and Urban Development grants will go towards getting those homes off the market. "We will identify a total of ten properties and we will then go in and purchase those foreclosed properties," said Cutts.

Cutts says the main focus right now will be foreclosed homes owned by banks in the East and South parts of the city. "Even though it's only ten houses, that's definitely a start," said Cutts.

After the homes are purchased by the city, Flint River Habitat For Humanity will step in. "And then we'll go in and do some of the rehab and then sell them like Habitat homes, some of them. Others will be affordable housing," said Flint River Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Stacey Odom-Driggers.

It's a collaborative effort that allows the city to utilize the money better and at the same time, help out with Habitat's mission. "Our goal is just to put more houses out there for people that are affordable and this is helping us to do that," said Odom-Driggers.

"Those who are seeking home ownership, this is an opportunity for them because the loan that will be made to them will be a zero percent interest loan so it's an excellent chance for home ownership," said Cutts.

It's an excellent chance that will keep giving. "When the homeowner buys the home, that money will be able to go out and purchase more homes," said Cutts.

They call it a win-win situation that will soon turn foreclosed to sold. The city hopes to begin purchasing some of those homes by July 1st.

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