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April 9, 2009

Fighting foreclosure blight

Nearly $4 billion is supposed to flow to neighborhoods across the country to deal with the effects of vacant foreclosures, part of the package Congress passed last year to try to stabilize the housing market. Columbia-based Enterprise Community Partners, one of the organizations that pressed to have that money included in the bill, released a report today about how cities, counties and states say they'll put it to use.

Analyzing "action plans" for more than half the money, Enterprise says 56 percent of the dollars are earmarked for foreclosure purchase and rehab, 21 percent for financing homebuying, 13 percent for redevelopment, 6 percent for demolition and 4 percent for land banking. (That's of the money not going to administrative costs.)

Most of the jurisdictions intend to stretch those dollars by adding other sources of taxpayer money or getting funds from private sources -- foundations, businesses and the like.

A sizable chunk of the money going to Maryland as well as directly to local jurisdictions -- including Baltimore City and Prince George's County -- is intended for purchase and rehab. The applications from the state and jurisdictions suggest the money will touch 1,500 homes in one way or another, Enterprise says.

Enterprise is a nonprofit builder and financier of affordable housing. So why does it care about foreclosures? This is its answer:

Foreclosures can cause a downward spiral of disinvestment, leading to yet more foreclosures. Thus, as foreclosures rise nationwide, communities decline. Enterprise and many other community development organizations have been working for decades to build high-quality, safe and stable neighborhoods. Therefore, our role in solving the national foreclosure crisis is to stabilize communities and design innovative solutions to ensure that this never happens again.
Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 2:16 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: The foreclosure mess


setting aside the merit of throwing still more federal dollars down the toilet...

If the city (and counties) were to intercept these funds and use them to cover RE taxes for a (X) years there are TONS of private investors willing to come in and invest that private money to do the rehabs needed. (Y) years after the work is completed there should be a demonstrated improvement in income taxes received by the yuppies and dinks who will move in as owners or renters... probably enough to justify a continued reduction in RE taxes.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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