The City is taking more tax foreclosed homes than ever before. We now have more than 1,000 improved properties in our inventory. That's more than 13 times the number before the financial meltdown. More importantly, it's a burden for many of Milwaukee's neighborhoods. Too often, these homes are vacant and deteriorating and too often become locations for criminal activity.
In response to these factors, Mayor Barrett proposed the Strong Neighborhoods Plan to help preserve housing stock and stabilize neighborhoods through a comprehensive approach: prevention, mitigation, revitalization and renewal. The approximately $12 million dollar budget includes funds for concentrated blight elimination, the repair of City-owned properties and vacant lot renewal and beautification.
When it comes to prevention, the City will work to avoid future tax foreclosures whenever possible by securing properties at an earlier stage, working with owners, maintaining property registration records and inspecting properties to reduce deterioration.
As part of mitigation efforts, the City will significantly reduce the backlog of structures that are on our must-raze list. The plan calls for City workers to do much of this demolition and creates into a new partnership with Wisconsin Community Services for additional re-entry job placements.
In the revitalization component of Mayor Barrett's Strong Neighborhoods Plan, City staff will increase in both property management and property marketing efforts and additional funds will be provided for property rehab efforts. A new program with local brokers will test a fresh way to market properties. And, the City will step up the rent-to-own program for tenants who already live in City-owned tax foreclosed properties.
Ultimately, Mayor Barrett's goal is to get these homes, whenever possible, into the hands of responsible homeowners, which is why the renewal section of the Strong Neighborhoods Plan partners with community based organizations for the re-sale and targeted rehab of City-owned properties. As part of the HOME GR/OWN effort, the City is identifying the best use of City-owned vacant lots.
Our results will be measurable. Benchmarks include 300 blighted or unsafe homes demolished and a goal of 350 home sales. As the Strong Neighborhoods Plan progresses and demolition backlogs are eliminated, more funding will be dedicated to rehab and stabilization efforts, benefiting both neighbors and neighborhoods.