Foreclosure Purchase Plan

November 18, 2008 12:36:57 AM PST
The city of Fresno is about to get into the residential real estate business. The feds have given Fresno nearly eleven million dollars to buy foreclosed homes.The purchase plan covers all of Fresno, but city leaders are focusing on homes in this area of central Fresno where there is a high concentration of foreclosed homes.

Those yellow lawns at a foreclosure near you could be turning green soon. The city of Fresno is getting close to $11 million dollars to help in the foreclosure crisis.

The for sale signs and abandoned homes tell the story another home lost taken over by the bank.

Gabriel Herrera has watched it happen to many neighbors. At the peak of the housing boom many people in his established central Fresno neighborhood took money out of their house.

Gabriel Herrera said, "A lot of people are living beyond their means, to be honest, that's what's really going on. They live beyond their means and i mean they take out loans on their homes, just to live."

A federal grant intended to help stabilize neighborhoods will help fund fixing up many of these blighted homes. The city is expected to buy several hundred homes and then either resell them or rent them out. Brian Calhoun said, "We can go in and turn the water on at the home so it doesn't look as if it's foreclosed. We can take the boards off the windows. We can rent the buildings and that's what'll happen in many cases because there's not that many people that are buying."

City budget managers have 18 months to spend close to $11 million dollars. The federal government has certain requirements the city must agree to abide by. The houses purchased cannot be more than $170 thousand dollars. The city must also acquire each home for at least 15 percent below current market value. The goal is to get neighborhoods stabilized by offering housing at a fair cost.

City of Fresno Budget Dir. Renena Smith said, "Not only do we want to get them back into their homes but we want them to be able to stay there. The criteria is getting them in homes at an affordable rate and that meets their financial needs."

The main area of focus borders Cornelia to Peach and Ashlan to North. Those neighborhoods have been dotted with foreclosures.

The city council will hear more about this neighborhood stabilization program in a workshop tomorrow. If the city buys houses with the money, it could afford at least 225, that's nearly 10 percent of the homes in foreclosure in the city of Fresno.

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