Visalia Tackles Housing Issues

Fresno, CA The city is doing it by getting into the real estate and renovation business.

One house on East Harold Court in North Visalia has been empty for months. It sits on a street where neighbors like Matt Alfaro constantly complain of crime and neglected homes. "We've already had some stolen property like multiple days in a row so like I said that's why we need some good properties out here with good people in it."

Alfaro's wish is about to come true. The City of Visalia is using $2.3 million dollars of federal grant money to refurbish dozens of foreclosed properties, and then re-sell them.

The home on Harold is the city's first under this program.

"What we are attempting to do here is stabilize the neighborhoods," said Visalia Housing Director Ricardo Noguera.

Neighbor Chris Valencia said "Nobody's getting nothing and this way the city at least gets the taxes and it goes back into the city and helps the economy."

From cleaning up cobwebs, to putting in new lighting fixtures; city officials are going to put $30,000 into this house to fix it up.

Prospective homebuyers of these refurbished homes will be under income restrictions but the houses will be affordable. "Whatever we put in, in improvements combined with the purchase price is what we will sell it for," said Noguera.

A $50,000 purchase price plus the $30,000 thousand in improvements means this house on Harold Court will go for about $80,000.

The city also has two other homes already in escrow to purchase and renovate, including this home on West Perez Avenue. But for now their efforts are focused on making their first home transformation a success.

It will take the city a couple months to completely refurbish the house. They hope to have a new family living in it by the end of the summer.

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