State awards stimulus money to help with foreclosed homes

In 2008, the Bush Administration passed the Housing Economic Recovery Act, which included a Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help with foreclosed homes.
The South Carolina State Housing, Finance and Development Authority has awarded communities and organizations the state’s portion of that act, to help companies buy foreclosed homes to sell or rent at reasonable prices.
The Lowcountry Housing Trust, a non-profit organization that serves Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, will get $7.4 million of the $44 million allotted to South Carolina – that’s more than any of the other 18 state recipients.
Tammie Hoy, director of the Lowcountry Housing Trust, says that More than 3,000 of the 14,000 foreclosed homes in the state came from this three county area and it’s time to reduce that number.
“The funding is very specific. It’s meant to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed bank-owned properties. So, the resource is not meant to help people who are in foreclosure or mitigate foreclosure, but once the properties have been foreclosed upon and are now bank-owned, the idea is to use these resources to acquire and rehabilitate minor rehab to these foreclosed properties and resell them or rent them,” says Hoy.
Hoy says the idea is true neighborhood stabilization and it aims at tackling a cluster of foreclosed homes, not just one here or there.
“Part of the problem with foreclosures is when you have lots of foreclosures in one neighborhood you have a lot more negative impact, meaning crime, or blight, or obviously reduction in property value,” says Hoy.
This year’s federal stimulus plan includes $2 billion for the program, but details are not expected until May.