State Housing Grant Helps Communities Hit Hardest Foreclosures

Neighborhood Stabilization Plan creates partnerships with community housing organizations, other agencies and businesses to battle blight and falling property values

NEW CASTLE, DE – December 16, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) –Gov. Jak Markell, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons and other government and non-profit leaders to announce the county’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program will use a state grant to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned homes.

The program’s goal is to make unoccupied homes available for new homeowners and renters. New Castle County has received $7 million through the Delaware State Housing Authority from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 for the program. The county’s Department of Community Services is working with more than 20 private sector and non-profit partners to implement this program.

“Homeownership is one of the cornerstones of families, our communities and our economy. In these challenging times, it is critical that we work together to help Delawareans find affordable housing. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the state’s Foreclosure Mitigation

Initiative show how the public benefits when governments team up to address issues facing our constituents,” said Governor Jack Markell.

In the last year, New Castle County has experienced a significant increase in the number of foreclosed and abandoned properties. Through November 2009, there have been 2,799 foreclosure complaints filed in the unincorporated areas of New Castle County (outside the City of Wilmington), an increase of 23% from the same time period in 2008. New Castle County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program will purchase homes for immediate resale or place them in a land bank for a short period of time for transition to non-profit partners. The community partners will resell, rehabilitate or redevelop the residential properties for homeownership and or rental. 31 homes will be purchased in the first phase of the program, with an additional 38 homes to be acquired over the next 5 years. As of December 2009, 22 foreclosed and vacant homes have been purchased in New Castle County with non-profit partners beginning rehabilitation of these homes within the next 45 days.

The community around New Castle County’s Garfield Park Activity Center is one of the hardest hit areas in the state for foreclosures. In 2009, the New Castle area (zip code 19720) has the highest number of foreclosure complaints filed in New Castle County.

“New Castle County is working to minimize the housing crisis in our communities with a multi- pronged approach that includes providing information to homeowners on preventing foreclosure, making ownership possible for more families through the Workforce Housing Program, and revitalizing neighborhoods stricken with multiple foreclosures through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. We are very fortunate to be working closely with an extensive team of community partners who bring expertise and a record of success to the initiative,” said County Executive Chris Coons.

“The number of mortgage foreclosure complaints in Delaware is expected to top 6,000 this year and 7,000 next year,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “These are alarming numbers for the families losing their homes and for our state’s overall economic stability. I commend New Castle County and its partners for their work in trying to transition these homes from being abandoned to being available to live in again. These working partnerships among all levels of government and local agencies are changing the lives of Delawareans each and every day.”

“When a home is foreclosed and abandoned, it affects not only the family that lost its home but the community as a whole,” said Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). “The Neighborhood Stabilization Program provides federal funds so that county and city governments can — in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — purchase and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties. This program raises the value of many residential homes and in doing so strengthens neighborhoods in Delaware that have been hit hard in these tough economic times.”

The priority areas for the program were selected based on the number and density of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods. The priority zip code will be 19720. Other Neighborhood Stabilization Program areas may include zip codes 19702, 19709, 19802, 19805 and 19701.

For information about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, please contact (302) 395-5616.

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