Public reacts to spending plan for foreclosed property

11/06/08 Mitch E. Perry
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The Hillsborough County Commission today took public comments on how to spend more than $19 million to buy and redevelop foreclosed properties.

The funds are from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, part of the massive housing bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush earlier this year.

The county thinks it will receive the money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development by next January.

Valerie Turner is from the County’s Affordable Housing Office. She told the Board about the criteria her department had to concentrate on regarding possible properties to purchase. She said the areas they chose were the areas around USF, Orient Park and the Palm River/Claremel Progress Village areas.

Vicki Engel is a Real Estate agent in Riverview. She says the areas chosen have always had a preponderance of foreclosures, even before the subprime mortgage crises hit.

Diana Lipky said she wanted to see some of the money distributed to the first-time homeowners program.

However, an official said that the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is separate from the down payment assistance program, which will be distributing money next month for people like Mrs. Lipky.

All funds must benefit low- to moderate-income people with incomes not exceeding 120 percent of the area median income.

The county must decide how to spend the money by Dec. 1.

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