Medford City Council discussing state funding for blight homes

Medford, Ore. — Habitat for Humanity and the City of Medford are working together to clean up neighborhoods, and get low-income families into homes. City councilors are expected to vote Thursday night on state funding that would allow Habitat for Humanity to buy two homes, renovate them, and get them back on the market.

“We’ve been really searching for homes that we can purchase under the criteria, which are homes in foreclosure, that are abandoned,” Habitat Executive Director Denise James said.

The program James referenced is geared toward bettering neighborhoods and communities.

“There was one million dollars statewide available, and it was on a first come, first serve basis,” James said.

The funding is offered by the Oregon Housing Community Services, through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. It’s an opportunity James jumped on.

“It was funding that was implemented during the recession, to really help with the foreclosure process, and keeping neighborhoods from turning into blight,” James said.

The goal is to buy houses, rehabilitate them, and get the keys into the hands of low income families.
The City of Medford has taken notice. Principal Planner Angela Durant says the projects align with the city’s goals.

“Being able to provide two new houses to our affordable housing inventory is what our priority is,” Durant said.

Those two houses on Newtown and Gould streets will be up for discussion at Thursday night’s city council meeting. Between the two properties, the City and organization are applying for $458,000.

“That would include the sales price and any rehab that would need to be done,” Durant said.

James expects the entire process to take about a year.

“We renovate them, and repair them and get them up to code, and then we will resell them to a habitat qualified family,” James said. “It’s just better overall for the city, for neighborhoods, and for people in need of housing.”

If approved, families interested in the homes will be able to apply through Habitat for Humanity.

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