Rehab Program for Fort Myers Foreclosures Right on Track

by Donald Hanz on Foreclosure Help

The federally-funded rehabilitation program for Fort Myers foreclosures is right on track, according to officials of the Housing Authority of Fort Myers.

Marcus Goodson, head of the housing authority, said that the amount of $500,000 has already been used to buy a 16-unit multifamily complex for conversion into affordable housing units. The amount is 11.9 percent of its share of $4.2 million from the $18.2 million given by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program of the Housing and Urban Development to Lee County for its housing programs.

While other local governments have barely touched the NSP money given to them last year, Lee County has already committed around 67 percent of the $18.2 million to specific projects.

Of the more than 300 U.S. cities and counties that got their share from the $4 billion NSP funding last year, only about one-third have started implementing programs using the money allocated. As of March this year, only 38 percent of the $4 billion has been committed to specific activities, such as purchase of a certain foreclosed property or repair of a certain building.

According to Brian Bissell, a rehabilitation specialist working for Lee County, the NSP-funded rehab program for Fort Myers foreclosures has been progressing well because city officials have been nurturing relationships with banks and realtors in order to have the first look on foreclosed properties.

Bankers and realtors in Lee County have agreed to show first their repossessed properties to county officials before these properties are listed for sale to the public. With this agreement, officials do not have to compete against private buyers at foreclosure auctions.

Additionally, Goodson said that his agency will not have difficulty in meeting the NSP time frame for the program because they have been targeting multifamily properties.

Other foreclosures for sale in Florida are also getting acquired, fixed and resold or rented out under the NSP program. Nearby Cape Coral has also spent a big portion of its NSP allocation. According to Cape Coral grant coordinator Amy Yearsley, the city has already spent around $4 million of its $7.1 million share. She said that 30 houses have already been purchased and six more are being acquired.

In contrast to the very satisfactory progress of rehab programs for Cape Coral and Fort Myers foreclosures, the state of Florida as a whole is lagging behind most states in carrying out programs to use all of the $91 million it has received under the NSP program.