The government’s plan to buy up, repair and sell distressed properties to poor and middle-income buyers is frozen in red tape and policy debate among local officials, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, introduced last July, was designed as a rapid response to escalating foreclosures by injecting billions in emergency aid to local governments. But, as in the case of Atlanta, which has one of the nation’s worst foreclosure rates, local officials say the first property will not get bought and the first auction will not even take place until June. And don’t expect any notable results until late summer, at the earliest, the newspaper reports.
But community leaders say that foreclosures are spreading like a brush fire, scarring once-beautiful neighborhoods with abandoned homes – and there’s no end in sight.
Between July and December 2008, home sales dipped an astounding 16 percent in Metro Atlanta’s five core urban counties, according to a study by the Dirty Truth Campaign, a local nonprofit group.
“We wish things would move faster,” said Robert Welsh, of Dirty Truth, which tracks the effects of foreclosure in Pittsburg, Sylvan Hills and other southwest Atlanta neighborhoods. “It’s a big problem, but at this point, we’ve got to roll with what they have going.”