Tampa officials outline plan for dealing with foreclosures

11/13/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The city of Tampa will get $13.6 million from a federal grant to purchase and refurbish approximately 100 homes in Sulphur Springs and West Tampa.

The funding comes from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush to deal with the foreclosure crisis.

According to new statistics issued today by RealtyTrac, Florida posted the third-highest foreclosure rate in the nation in October, with one in every 157 housing units receiving a filing. Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 54,000 homes.

Cyndy Miller is Tampa’s director of Growth Management and Development Services. She says the city will partner with developers, contractors, non-profits and financial institutions.

Miller said that in addition to the federal grant, she will be working hard to try to leverage other services to address a foreclosure problem that only seems to be growing.

Major John Bennett, with the Tampa Police Department, said part of his jurisdiction now includes Sulphur Spring He believes crime would go down in the area by having more homes filled with people and not left vacant.

In addition to the more than $13 million Tampa will have to purchase and refurbish homes, Hillsborough County will get $19 million from the same federal program.

Funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in Tampa and across the country will aid local communities in dealing with the foreclosure crisis, but by no means is a complete cure for local housing problems.

Tampa area Congresswoman Kathy Castor said there are other agencies that can help at-risk homeowners, but says they must be proactive in trying to get help.

Cyndy Miller from the city of Tampa says the plan is to purchase or refurbish 80 homes for those who have been foreclosed, and approximately 30 houses to be acquired for the nonprofits.

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Good. The more help the better. I really think we are close to the bottom, when you consider all the aid, from Citigroup and others. In addition to Citi, The federal gov't FHA, many states, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, and Bank of America/Countrywide have committed to helping over 2 million homeowners between them keep their homes. I found more info on the programs here. http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/help_with_mortgage.html