RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia is helping Richmond fight the housing crisis. The state is giving the river city two million dollars to buy, rehabilitate and re-sell foreclosed homes.
It's called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Richmond is one of several localities sharing 17 and a half million dollars to get foreclosed homes off the market.
Homes in central Church Hill, south Highland Park and southern Barton Heights are about to be filled with life again. Richmond has awarded contracts to agencies like Habitat for Humanity and the better housing coalition to buy, renovate and then re-sell 18 foreclosed homes. Another 6 will be turned into rental properties.
"Just the presence of those vacant properties have made the markets in the neighborhood go downward," said Todd Christensen, Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
"If you have concerns about the health of your mortgage you are not alone," said Governor Tim Kaine.
There are 16,000 foreclosed homes statewide. The governor's even created a web based task force to help with the housing crisis in the state. The money will be used to get foreclosed homes off the market. In all the money will rehabilitate 136 homes across the state in neighborhoods where foreclosures are dropping home values.
"In northern Virginia for example some of the markets have dropped almost 30 to 40 percent," said Christensen.
The homes will be sold to low to moderate income families. The buyers will have to go through an eight hour housing counseling course and may also qualify for down payment and closing cost assistance.
The state says this is about more than just filling empty homes.
"To have homes filled and to have the whole real estate market moving in the right direction. Moving up instead of down. The money from the sale will go back into the program," Christensen said.
The state may go for round two in July when stimulus money is available to start the process all over again. No word when any of these will be available to the public