Posted by: Brian Powers | April 8, 2009

Grants to help Warren, Sterling Hts. deal with foreclosed homes

Grants to help Warren, Sterling Hts. deal with foreclosed homes

Candice Williams / The Detroit News

WARREN — The city will be able to demolish or rehab 65-70 blighted, foreclosed homes thanks to a $250,000 grant it received today from the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Mike Cox was in town to detail grants Warren and Sterling Heights each received to help its neighborhoods affected by foreclosures.

“Warren has been very, very aggressive in either fixing up homes that otherwise wouldn’t be fixed or knocking down homes,” said Cox, who was joined by Mayor Jim Fouts at Warren City Hall. “Regardless of how the city spends it, I’m pretty confident the mayor will put it to the right uses to make life better here in Warren and address the foreclosure problem.”

Sterling Heights is expected to announce an identical grant for its community tonight.

The grants are the result of a $139 million settlement with Countrywide Financial, Cox said, adding that he and six other attorney generals sued the mortgage company for misrepresenting, overselling and getting people into home loans they shouldn’t have.

About $129 million of the money will be used to help renegotiate nearly 10,000 loans in Michigan to help keep families in their homes, Cox said. Another $6.7 million will help 3,600 residents that received subprime and pay-option adjustable rate mortgage loans between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2008, but later lost their home. They will each receive a payment of $1,800. Those eligible for the payment will be contacted via mail at a later date.

The remaining $3.2 million of the settlement went to the United Way for homeowner forums and the state’s five largest cities. The grants may be used to maintain, purchase or tear down distressed properties. Warren has three homes slated for demolitions in the next few weeks.

Fouts said the city will use the money to demolish or rehab homes and help educate homeowners on how they can avoid foreclosure. Warren had 725 foreclosures in the last year, a record for the city.

“Ridding our homes of dilapidated buildings has been a particularly major goal of mine,” Fouts said. “That’s why this grant is welcome news.”

Cox is expected to make an announcement regarding Sterling Heights with Mayor Richard Notte at 7:30 tonight during the City Council meeting.

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