Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Foreclosure Crisis

Updated 2/4/2008, 2:08pm

In January the Metropolitan Housing Coalition released a study of foreclosures in Louisville Metro. It’s scary. And it’s not just a problem in older, historic neighborhoods.

The numbers are stunning:
1996 – 437 foreclosures
2007 – 3,187 foreclosures

Most reading this web log know the impact of a vacant home in the neighborhood. They destabilize the area, becoming flashpoints for trouble. Some foreclosures will result in properties sitting vacant for extended periods of time. And if properties are sold, there’s the possibility they will fall into the hands of unsavory investors common in the New Albany area.

It’s an ugly cycle. And sometimes the cycle ends with a bulldozer, funded by our tax dollars, demolishing a home and sending it to the landfill. As a side note, our city council is being asked to appropriate $53,000* to our Unsafe Building fund this Monday. It’s a way of addressing the symptom. It clearly does not address the cause.

One way to counteract the cycle is through resident education. If you can, you should attend the Silver Grove Neighborhood Association meeting on February 7th. A spokesperson from National City bank will be the featured speaker and the topic will be “Protecting Yourself from Abusive Lenders”. It’s an important message also delivered to the S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood last fall.

Also in February, Carl Malysz, Deputy Mayor and Director of Community Development, will be speaking to the S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood (Tuesday, February 19th). We expect a spirited discussion of strategies addressing the stabilization of our neighborhoods. Join us if you can.

*Clarification: The appropriation of $53,000 is not new money being requested for the Unsafe Building Fund (for the purpose of demolition), it is a funding request that was not approved last year.

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