Foreclosure Summit in Merced

Merced, CA, USA Several government agencies, non-profit organizations and lenders came together for a "Foreclosure Summit"... they're looking for ways to work together to stabilize the neighborhoods hit hardest ... And re-sell the thousands of homes now sitting empty.

With more than 13-hundred foreclosed properties in Merced ... The city has been called ground zero of the housing crisis.

Rob Wiener said, "This is the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, not only in California but in the entire country."

A Foreclosure Summit Monday in Merced brought together government agencies, non-profits and lenders to figure out ways to work together to make hard-hit neighborhoods viable once again.

"What we are talking about today is models-- how that money might be used most effectively by local governments and non-profits. There is more than one way to restore these homes to productive use," said Wiener.

Money that will help make that happen ... Is coming in the form grants from the federal government's "Neighborhood Stabilization Program" ... or NSP.

Frank Luera from the State Department of Housing said, "The expectation is that they will go in and possibly purchase these foreclosed homes and essentially rehabilitate them and re-sell them."

The State's Department of Housing and Community Development will distribute the funds to eligible jurisdictions ... $145-million state-wide.

"They should be ready to hit the ground running ... thats part of what we'll be looking at, to determine whether they have a plan in place ... and they've done this before so they know how to do it," said Luera.

The City of Merced is set to receive just over two million dollars through NSP ... Instead of buying a few foreclosed homes and re-selling them, City Housing Manager Masoud Niromand says they plan to use the money to help first time home-buyers.

"If we don't get enough applications we might actually extend that to all home-buyers. We feel that this will further stretch our funding to help more people attain affordable housing with our downpayment and closing costs assistance," said Niromand.


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