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Special committee discusses plans to face foreclosure issues in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- It's no small number.  The City of Milwaukee owned more than 1200 foreclosed and abandoned homes at the start of 2014.  The goal is to sell 350 by the end of the year and Monday city leaders provided plans to help reach that goal.



A special committee held its monthly meeting at city hall Monday morning.  Alderman Russell Stamper proposed a $1 plan.  That involves selling about 20 of those homes for one dollar and then financing loans up to $50,000 to help new owners make repairs.  Homeowners then would have up to 10 years to repay the loan.



Committee chair Alderman Robert Bauman co-sponsored the plan, but wants alderman to approve all sales.  He also wants alderman to meet with Department of Neighborhood Services regularly to identify problem properties and make sure appropriate work is being done.



Alderman Bauman admits the process is a slow one, but restoring these properties is vital to Milwaukee's future.



\"[We] focus on properties that are dragging down an entire block, or dragging down an entire neighborhood,\" Bauman said.  \"Either because of problem tenants or because of a physical condition of a property or because the property becomes an attractive nuisance for criminals or vandals or people wanting to do disorder. 


\"By focusing on those cancerous cells in the body, hopefully the body itself will prosper and grow and be more stable.\"



Alderman Bauman also brought up issues with the city's Rent-to-own program, which formed in 2012.  So far, just one property - a condo at the Knickerbocker Hotel - has gone through.  Bauman wants to see more progress with the program.



The $1 plan will get more discussion at the committee's next meeting in October.

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