Oklahoma City Plans to Find Foreclosed Homes to Buy- By: John Cutts
The city of Muskogee in Oklahoma will soon receive a share from the federal funds to allow it to find foreclosed homes to purchase and demolish or renovate.
The almost $2.1 million federal funds that the city is set to receive will be used to buy foreclosure houses to be demolished or renovated to prevent them from becoming neighborhood blight.
The initiative is under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce will administer the federal funds which will be coursed through the Muskogee Housing Authority. The housing agency has been serving over 1,000 low-income and fixed-income families and individuals.
Meanwhile, Housing Authority director J.D. Foster explained that the agency will be allowed to purchase almost 25 foreclosure properties and renovate them to become rental units. Some of the funds will also be used to demolish about 25 dilapidated foreclosed houses. Foster said that demolitions will be made in the east and north parts of the city, adding that these areas have the highest concentration of foreclosure homes, not to mention that these areas are also the oldest parts of the city.
According to industry experts, the buying and fixing initiative requires an environmental-related review, such as flood plain issues and issuance of notification to various agencies, including the Muskogee Historical Society.
Foster said that majority of the foreclosure homes they are considering of buying are 50 years old and above and in desperate need of repair. He added that the agency officials and staff will inspect these properties to determine the types of repair that are needed.
He also said that contracts for the rehabilitation work will all be awarded under competitive bidding.
Meanwhile, assistant city planner Tish Callahan said that the initiative complements Muskogee's updated comprehensive plan. She said that the plan encourages the redevelopment in the original city site area. She admitted that the city, being over 100 years old, needs a lot of redevelopment work.
On the other hand, as part of the initiative to remodel the deteriorating neighborhoods, Muskogee has launched the Neighborhood Redevelopment Program which is funded by taxes. Under the program, low-income homeowners are eligible to receive as much as $20,000 for use in the repair in blighted areas.
So far, 106 houses have received a makeover at a cost of almost $1.86 million.
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John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.