Rehabbed Properties Spur Turnaround of Blighted Neighborhoods in Brockton
AG Coakley and Local Officials Highlight Success of Abandoned Housing Initiative and Announce Distressed Properties Grant
BROCKTON — A year after touring an abandoned property that was being renovated through her Abandoned Housing Initiative (AHI), Attorney General Martha Coakley returned to meet the home’s new owner and tour another property that has since been rehabbed. Through the AHI program, almost 50 homes have now been renovated in Brockton, with property values of those homes rising an average 20 percent for a total increase of $1.2 million.
AG Coakley also announced that Brockton is a $100,000 recipient of the Distressed Properties Identification and Revitalization (DPIR) grant. DPIR grant funds will be used to identify and prioritize bank owned properties, and then work with the owners to ensure that they are promptly returned to productive residential use. Brockton is one of 21 communities receiving funding from the $1 million DPIR grant program.
“These abandoned properties are public safety hazards, affect local property values and can hinder future residential and economic development,” AG Coakley said. “Through the efforts highlighted today, and supported by many partners, we are seeing whole neighborhoods revitalized and property values on the rise. It’s wonderful to see Brockton’s progress first hand.”
“Working to combat the foreclosure crisis and strengthen our neighborhoods has remained a top focus throughout the city,” said Mayor Linda M. Balzotti. “We’ve built coalitions, we’ve worked to change laws and we’ve collaborated to reinvest in our housing stock. The Distressed Properties Identification and Revitalization grant provides us with another key tool to make strides in this area, and I very much appreciate the Attorney General’s commitment to helping us remain at the forefront of this issue.”
“Getting foreclosed properties on the market is a great step forward in stabilizing neighborhoods and creating new opportunities for homebuyers in the future,” said Plymouth Register of Deeds John Buckley. “The AG and Mayor Balzotti’s leadership on the foreclosure crisis as it relates to Brockton is clearly shown by the numbers. Foreclosures have dropped significantly in Brockton and we are now focused on working with the AG’s office on executing the Distressed Properties and Revitalization and Identification grant program.”
During the visit, AG Coakley toured 113 Laureston St., a two-family house that was formerly abandoned for three years, used primarily for drug activity, and had been a threat to public safety. Through the AHI program, both that home and a neighboring property at 117 Laureston St. have been renovated under the supervision of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority (BRA). The two homes belonged to a large group in the Campello neighborhood that became distressed due to the foreclosure crisis but are now being renovated.
The AHI was developed to provide a tool to communities to rid otherwise viable neighborhoods of blighted properties. AHI employs the State Sanitary Code to seek out delinquent owners of abandoned, residential properties and to have them bring those homes back into code compliance. If an owner refuses, then AHI will petition the Court to appoint a receiver to complete the needed repairs, with a lien placed on the home for the value of the work. The receiver is then compensated when the property is sold.
In addition, the exterior of 113 Laureston St. was completely renovated through the HomeCorps Community Restoration Grant program that was made possible as a result of a nationwide settlement involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers. The grant was part of the HomeCorps program, a comprehensive strategy developed by the AG’s Office to provide direct assistance to distressed borrowers and help communities recover from the foreclosure crisis.
Laureston Street was the site of a visit last year by AG Coakley, who was joined by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
The AHI Laureston street cases were handled by Assistant Attorney General Daniel A. Less of the AG’s Southeastern Massachusetts Office with assistance from paralegal Jason Piques.