Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs recently awarded Rockdale County a $2.7 million grant to help combat the effect of foreclosures around the county. County Chief of Staff R.J Hadley applied for the Neighborhood Stabilization Grant in January. The county is one of only 23 recipients in the state awarded the NSP funds.
“I was informed that there was a possibility that Rockdale could be eligible to apply. When I looked at it I said this is something that could really help the community,” Hadley said. “If we’re eligible, let’s reach out and try to get it.”
The funds, which are distributed through DCA by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, can be used to purchase, renovate and repopulate foreclosed homes in the county.
“This grant gives the county another opportunity to help the citizens of Rockdale without going into the general fund to do it,” Hadley said. “I don’t want to let an opportunity to get funding pass when I can write the grant and get the help.“
According to the Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation, there were 1,821 foreclosure filings in the county from January to November 2008, and another 5,600 homes have seen declined in value due to nearby foreclosures.
HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and will provide nearly $4 billion to states and certain local communities experiencing particularly high foreclosure problems and risk of property abandonment.
The program allows states and local governments to purchase foreclosed homes at a discount and to rehabilitate or redevelop them in order to respond to rising foreclosures and falling home values. State and local governments can use their neighborhood stabilization grants to acquire foreclosed residential property and to demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties.
Funds are also available to loan money to eligible families.
The NSP also seeks to prevent future foreclosures by requiring housing counseling for families receiving homebuyer assistance. In addition, future homebuyers will be protected by requiring grantees to ensure that new homebuyers under this program obtain a mortgage loan from a lender who agrees to comply with sound lending practices. Hadley said his first order of business is to hire an administrator to oversee the program, who he hopes to have in place by June