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Revitalized homes arent selling
Grants paid to fix up homes
A recently remodeled house at 921 Black Drive still is on the market unsold because of the current recession. A Home Development Resources Inc. project used grant money to renovate the house in an effort to revitalize the community.

The economy’s effects on the housing market can be felt even down to the level of affordable homes made available through community grants.

Despite major improvements to two homes on Black and Cooley drives, the houses have not sold due to the state of the market.

Mary Ledbetter, executive director of Home Development Resources Inc., said even low prices and down payment assistance haven’t sold the revitalized homes.

"They have been on the market for a while," Ledbetter said. "I think it’s just something we’re going to have to wait out."

The homes were renovated with money awarded to Hall County through the Community Development Block Grant.

The grant is part of a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of community development needs, including revitalizing areas suffering from blight or foreclosure.

The funding is made available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ledbetter said the program has been successful since Hall County began receiving grant funds in 2005.

"Most of those (homes) didn’t stay on the market more than 60 days," she said. "Around the first of 2008 it started tapering off. "

The funds go toward renovating homes to resell in an effort to revitalize the area.

"We did all new plumbing, electrical and HVAC," Ledbetter said. "We did complete painting of the units and carpets and vinyl and new cabinets. It’s pretty much a new house on the inside."

The Hall County Board of Commissioners recently accepted nearly $2.3 million for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The funding allows local governments to use the grants to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed residential property for resale to families in an effort to stabilize neighborhoods.

The money will target neighborhoods with high foreclosure rates to help salvage property values.

One of the neighborhoods, the Rosewood subdivision, is in Commissioner Ashley Bell’s district.

"In the Rosewood subdivision, we had homes that were either foreclosed or vacant," Bell said. "Any kind of help we can have to help preserve the values of these homes are going to help us start back on the right foot once the market does come back. And once the market does come back, with the help of HDRI, we’ll be ready to go and get right back in the swing of things and fill these homes up with families and people who are ready, willing and able."

Bell said HDRI is "a great partner for the county" to help keep neighborhoods safe and keep property values stable.

"Anytime you have neighborhoods that are going vacant ... the last thing we want is someone breaking into an empty home that no one’s watching, nobody’s caring about, and using it for illicit activities."