- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Richmond’s leaders are teaming up with a community non-profit to buy and renovate nearly 200 abandoned houses and sell them to families in need.

KNTV reported (https://bit.ly/1OFUknz ) Wednesday that the properties have been empty for years after owners who couldn’t afford them walked away and banks never fully foreclosed. But the abandoned residences are magnets for squatters and an eyesore for neighbors.

Joshua Genser with the Richmond Community Foundation says they attract drug dealers, as well as rats and other vermin.

“They’re huge problems,” Genser said.

Officials plan to have revamped and sold about 200 houses, priced between $250,000 and $350,000, in five years.



The first are expected to be ready for sale by next spring, the station reported.

Carmelita Goff hopes to be among the first buyers. Once homeless, Goff and her family have gotten back on their feet with help from Spark Point, a center that helps families build financially secure futures.

“I’m ecstatic,” Goff told the station. “I’m just waiting, just hurry up and rehab a house for us. That way it will allow people like myself - working people with families - to afford to buy.

City leaders hope their approach will provide families, like the Goffs, with better opportunities to buy homes while those that live in the now impacted neighborhoods will benefit from a safer, cleaner environment.

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Information from: KNTV-TV.

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