It represents the first private-sector funding for the land bank, formed 18 months ago with the goal of stabilizing communities by finding new uses for more than 55,000 vacant lots and abandoned houses and other buildings within the county.
Under the agreement, the land bank will use the funds to acquire so-called "zombie properties," those vacant homes that are lingering in the foreclosure process, as well as bank-owned homes, and then a construction management firm will vet and hire contractors to complete the work necessary to make the homes move-in ready.
At the same time, the land bank will work with local housing counseling agencies to identify and help pre-qualify potential buyers who will select a home, wait for it to be rehabbed, and then receive a mortgage from
Buyers will have to make a
"It's unique and it's novel and it will take a lot of work on everyone's part," said
While it is uncertain how many vacant homes ultimately will be involved in the effort, the intent is to tackle several obstacles that have stood in the way of a housing recovery in some areas. Homes in hard-hit communities are sitting in limbo or getting sold for cash to investors who have the deep pockets to fund significant repairs. Many of them are being turned into rental properties.
Meanwhile, people who might want to buy the homes for their own use may be able to afford a mortgage but can't secure the substantial construction loans necessary to make the repairs, and smaller contractors with thinner wallets are locked out from the purchase-rehab market as well.
Investors "are not the highest and best use," said
The program is being announced Thursday during a workshop for community groups, developers and investors interested in working with the land bank. Outreach efforts in communities will start in the fall, Gainer said.
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