Tuesday, August 26, 2008
While Congress is busy mortgaging the nation’s financial future to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, local governments are busy with more urgent efforts to ameliorate the social harms of abandoned and foreclosed homes, especially those concentrated in low-income neighborhoods.
In Boston, Hendry Street is a bleak site of abandoned and boarded up houses (see the picture on the Boston Globe site). Not only does this situation attract crime and vandalism, it further decreases the value of existing occupied homes, sometimes pushing extant homeowners closer towards foreclosure. So the city’s plan is to take title to some houses and to sell them to developers who promise to maintain and repair them for new housing (probably many in the form of rentals). The city has already reached a deal with one developer.
Here’s hoping that the plan (which, to be clear, is funded in large part by federal assistance) works, and that the money is spent more effectively at the local level than the larger expenditures may be at the federal level …