The Strong Neighborhood Investment Program (SNIP), a centerpiece of Mayor Tom Barrett’s 2014 budget, provides $11.8 million to redouble city efforts to reduce the number and mitigate the impacts of tax-foreclosed properties. As the department responsible for managing and marketing that inventory, DCD staff are moving forward on many fronts to implement SNIP, and the number of staff members devoted to these tasks is growing.
The current inventory of tax-foreclosed buildings is nearly 1,500. Real estate staff members handle the intake of tax-foreclosed properties, inspecting them, negotiating leases with tenants living in units at the time of foreclosure, arranging to re-key and board vacant properties, referring some properties for demolition and marketing the inventory that can be redeveloped. SNIP funds this work, along with several new programs: a rent-to-own initiative that helps tenants purchase the houses in which they live; a pilot program that allows licensed real estate brokers to market properties; new loan and grant programs to encourage the purchase and renovation of foreclosed properties; the artistic board-up program that involves young people in creating visual art on boarded properties; and a vacant lot beautification effort. Housing development and preservation staff also are involved in these initiatives.
Full SNIP implementation will require several new hires. Keith Bailey, an experienced real estate broker, joined the real estate staff several weeks ago to handle sales transactions. Other new staff will begin their jobs in early January.