For Immediate Release - January 08, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Awards Over $1 Million in Grant Funding for Abandoned Property Rehabilitation

Funds from Fremont Mortgage Lending Settlement Allocated to Abandoned Property Rehabilitation Program

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced that it will use monies obtained from the 2009 Fremont Settlement to fund over $1 million in grants for the Abandoned Property Rehabilitation Program. Grants will support the rehabilitation of residential properties left abandoned due to foreclosure. This grant program will allow community development organizations and non-profit housing groups to rehabilitate abandoned properties and stem neighborhood decline. The funds awarded to grantees can be used to support the rehabilitation and renovation of abandoned properties, leverage additional funding, or provide services to make properties habitable.

"I am pleased that funds we have obtained through our subprime lending enforcement efforts will be allocated to abandoned property rehabilitation and will help to provide housing opportunities for the people of the Commonwealth," said Attorney General Martha Coakley. "This grant program will help alleviate the stress of the foreclosure crisis by utilizing funds to rehabilitate abandoned properties and will improve the safety and wellbeing of our communities by preventing these properties from being left in chaos."

Grant recipients are community development organizations and municipal governments who are dealing with the effects of abandoned and foreclosed properties in some of the areas hardest hit by the fallout from the housing crisis. Consideration was given to applicants whose programs are most likely to affect the largest number of properties and effectively leverage other funds to expand the impact of these resources.

The following organizations were awarded grant funding:

  • The City of Boston
  • Chelsea Restoration Corporation
  • The Town of Framingham
  • Lawrence Community Works
  • Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development
  • The City of Marlborough
  • The City of New Bedford
  • Twin Cities Community Development Corporation (Fitchburg, Leominster)
  • Worcester Community Housing Resources

The grant funding stems from a settlement obtained by the Attorney General's Office in 2009 against Fremont Investment & Loan and its parent company, Fremont General Corporation. Under the terms of the settlement, Fremont has also agreed not to foreclose upon unfair loans or originate unfair loans in the Commonwealth.

Since taking office in January 2007, Attorney General Martha Coakley has made foreclosure prevention and property rehabilitation a priority of her administration. The Attorney General's Office Abandoned Housing Initiative (AHI) was developed in the mid-1990s in response to complaints about crime and safety issues imposed by one or two abandoned homes in an otherwise viable neighborhood. Through the AHI, staff in the Attorney General's Office work with municipal inspectional services to identify properties that are abandoned and therefore a threat to the neighborhood. In March of 2009, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the expansion of AHI in collaboration with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and was awarded $435,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). For more information about this initiative, please visit the AHI section of the Attorney General's website.

The grants were awarded during the week of January 6, 2010. For more information, please visit the Attorney General's Office Grant Opportunities website.