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Foreclosure Resource Center renovating homes
Pilot program targets five Clayton properties for rehabilitation

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

With the help of a $500,000 investment from the Housing Authority of Clayton County (HACC), the Clayton County Foreclosure Resource Center is buying up foreclosed properties with hopes of putting them back on the market as attractive, affordable homes.

The Foreclosure Resource Center is currently in the process of buying, renovating and repairing five homes through its pilot Neighborhood Recovery Program (NRP). Two homes - located in Riverdale at 1250 Julie Court and 7112 Greystone Drive - are nearly finished, and are expected to be on the market in two to three weeks, according to Altimese Dees, a real estate agent working on the project.

David Barton, program coordinator for the Foreclosure Resource Center, said the housing authority allocated funds to the pilot program in January of this year. He said the program was a reaction to the nation's foreclosure crisis, which left a number of neighborhoods in Clayton County with abandoned, unused properties.

"The housing authority saw a need to help with the plight of foreclosures in the county," Barton said. "They created a pilot program that could purchase homes in neighborhoods and slowly stop the hemorrhaging. The theory and thought behind that is to stop it there, and put in a homeowner and not a tenant."

According to Barton, the Roswell-based Darden Development Group has been contracted to locate and renovate the homes. The Real Estate Gallery of Georgia, LLC, has been given the task of matching the newly-renovated homes with low- to moderate-income home buyers.

Dees, the real estate agent for the pilot program, said the program closed on its first two bank-owned properties at the end of July. She said the program will target three other homes in the Hampton area in the coming weeks.

"We've been working for the last two and a half months," Dees said. "The house at 1250 Julie Court, that is about 90 to 95 percent complete. They are ordering garage doors."

Dees said the property at Greystone Drive had structural problems, which have been repaired. She said crews are now ordering light fixtures, modernizing the kitchen, and working on exterior paint. She said the project is about "65 to 70 percent" complete.

"These homes are kind of the ugly-duckling homes that have been on the market for a while," Dees said. "We are renovating them so that they will no longer be a source of blight on the community. A lot of people lost their American dream through foreclosures. We want to bring the American dream back to Clayton County."

Dees said the first two homes in the pilot program will sell for around $120,000. The other three homes will be priced from $70,000 to $120,000, she said.

The Foreclosure Resource Center's pilot program is only one of the efforts under way to battle foreclosures within the county. In April, the Clayton County Housing and Community Development Department received $9.7 million in stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to repair foreclosed homes and put them back on the market.

Through the Housing and Community Development Department's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), an effort that is separate from the housing authority's effort, the county will purchase and rehabilitate no less than 83 foreclosed homes, according to county officials.

To kick off those efforts, the county will host a NSP Housing Rally this Saturday from 10 a.m., to 12 p.m., at the State Farmers Market in Forest Park.

Those interested in purchasing homes being renovated through the housing authority's pilot program can call (678) 644-1712 or visit www.realestategalleryga.com for more information.