Milwaukee -- Although most of the foreclosure crisis is behind us, the city of Milwaukee isn't so lucky. Tax foreclosures left the city with more than 1,000 properties in its name. That number could grow over the next few years.
Mayor Tom Barrett made this a priority in his next budget. Sunday he announced plans to invest an extra $7 million to help fight Milwaukee's growing foreclosure problem. One that's different from the bank foreclosures most hear about.
It could help some neighborhoods on the north side.
"A lot of gunfire, a lot of gun play took place and stuff. Lot of drug houses."
Oscar Bush has witnessed the evolution of a neighborhood over the last 20 years.
He lives near 34th and Wright in Milwaukee.
"Since then it has got a lot better."
But the last few years he's seen six homes get abandoned.
"When people started leaving the neighborhood it kind of takes property values down quickly," Bush said. "Nobody wants to live in this neighborhood."
Boarded up or broken windows. Trash in the streets.
"Rats. A lot of stray cats running around. It makes it look worse."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he's heard from people like Oscar. That's why he's planning to add more than $7 million in his budget to deal with the problem.
"The city of Milwaukee unfortunately now has over a thousand pieces of property in its inventory," Barrett said. "These are pieces of property that I don't want the city to own but unfortunately have come to the city through tax foreclosures."
He says they'll use demolition, rehabilitation, marketing, and other strategies to turn these homes. The mayor says about 300 homes could be demolished.
"That's unfortunate because we would rather save those homes but you get to the point because they've been sitting empty for so long that it just doesn't pay to have them saved anymore."
The mayor says he believes there's support from the Common Council for his proposal. And Bush agrees that it could help improve his view.
"When they come down in here and they see all the vacant lots, see all the torn houses it makes the area look worse than it is."
The Mayor says they've had encouraging talks with State government about how to deal with this too.