Communities Seek Help for Declining Neighborhoods
The number of foreclosures continued to rise in New Jersey towns, counties and cities. Paterson registered the worst in the area with a high 10 percent foreclosure rate, which is considered very high according to national levels. 2,246 foreclosed properties have already been registered in this city this year, which accounts to 35 percent of the total foreclosures in New Jersey.
In neighborhoods, several vacant homes line the streets, abandoned, boarded up and locked down. The presence of foreclosed homes in the area has caused home values to drop considerably, making it difficult for remaining residents to sell their homes. These residents are fearing the danger that these abandoned homes are bringing to the neighborhood, as these houses are slowly becoming a haven for crime, drug addiction, prostitution, wild parties and fights.
Some of these foreclosed homes have been ransacked by thieves and vandals, removing all remaining valuable items from the home: from wires, pipes and metal fixtures to built-in appliances like furnaces and air conditioners. This scenario is causing a lot of worries to the community and the city officials.
Under the Housing and Recovery Act of 2008, funds will be allocated to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be used for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The program aims to assist state and local governments deal with the problems associated with foreclosed properties. The funds will be used to purchase or rehabilitate foreclosed properties in hard-hit areas and be sold later as affordable housing to low-income families.
$5.1 million is allocated to New Jersey, with another $12.5 million as shared funds for Newark, Paterson, Jersey City, Union and Bergen. The city of Paterson will receive $2.2 million which will be used to purchase at least 10 properties for rehab.
Final plans should be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and should be implemented within the next 18 months. The amount may be small, but it is a concrete step towards the right direction.