Foreclosure program may only help north Fayette

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 3:10pm
By: John Munford

County hopes to expand to other areas; decision up to DCA officials

Fayette County is working on a program to provide downpayment assistance to homebuyers purchasing foreclosed homes.

The buyers, who would be identified by local lending institutions, must ultimately reside in the home and the home must be “off the market” as a foreclosed home, officials said last week.

The county is in line for a $1.17 million grant for the program. 25 percent of those funds would be earmarked for residents whose income is below 50 percent of the median income in Fayette County. The other 75 percent will be used for residents whose income is greater than 50 percent but less than 120 percent of the median income for Fayette County.

Included in those figures are funds for “housing counseling” as required by the grant, officials said.

Currently the program would eligible for foreclosed homes in certain areas of unincorporated north Fayette County where the highest foreclosure rates are. But the county is trying to convince the Department of Community Affairs to expand the program to other areas that would include parts of Tyrone, Peachtree City and Fayetteville.

The overall goal of the program, according to Director of Community Development Pete Frisina, is to secure ownership for foreclosed homes “so they don’t fall into disrepair and affect surrounding properties.”

It also benefits low and moderate income residents by placing them in the housing, he added.

County Commissioner Eric Maxwell said he doesn’t know if he can support the program because it only benefits a small area of the county instead of the larger geographic area originally presented by county staff.

“It seems after we made our application all of a sudden a lot of strings have been placed on it,” Maxwell said. “... Essentially what we are doing is subprime 2.0.”

Maxwell said there are foreclosures in other areas of Fayette County and he didn’t see why the funds couldn’t be used for the entire county instead.

No vote was taken on the matter; the information was presented in a public hearing format instead. The county commission has not yet voted to accept the grant funds but is expected to vote on the matter at a later date.

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Submitted by FayetteFlyer on Tue, 06/02/2009 - 4:22pm.

Excuse me, but wasn't this one of the contributing factors on how we got into this fiscal debacle in the first place?

Submitted by ohmygosh on Tue, 06/02/2009 - 8:16pm.

and it was these homes that were ripe for the taking with these sub-prime mortgages and easy lending practices for homes that were clearly out of reach for those applying. Now it seems they will get a second chance to buy these homes again, only to default once more in a few years

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