A legal answer to putting people back in foreclosed homes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

A legal answer to foreclosure questions

By Teresa Mackin - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

MADISON (WKOW) -- Activism has brought the issue of foreclosure to the forefront in Madison.

While there are hundreds of foreclosures listed in the Madison area, 27 News found out there are legal ways to buy these homes up and make them more affordable.

Madison Police Captain Joe Balles says, "Long term vacant housing is a significant public safety risk for our whole community."

Police say it's about a larger community-wide effort: to know where these homes are in your neighborhood.

Balles adds, "The larger issue is... find good perspective buyers out there, get the homes into hands of responsible people."

In fact, there are groups that do that. Take the Madison Area Community Land Trust. They're part of a consortium of non-profits that use federal grants to buy foreclosed homes. The Land Trust will hold the title to the home, but will sell the improvements to income-qualified families at a cheaper price.

Michael Carlson, the Executive Director of the Madison Area Community Land Trust says, "As a whole, I think we're making a substantial impact on these foreclosed homes, getting them back on the market at prices people will be able to afford."

The Madison Land Trust will work with other non-profits, like Operation Fresh Start, to re-do this home: but they don't always deal with foreclosures.

Carlson adds, "It's a testament to the relative stability of the Dane County housing market: there weren't a tremendous number of these houses to buy up actually."

Taking these homes off foreclosure listings: one home at a time.

Real estate agent Jeff Olson, with Re/Max Preferred in Madison, says there have been a thousand foreclosed single-family homes sold in South-Central Wisconsin over the past year.

If you are looking for affordable housing, the city of Madison has a number of programs for low-income families.

1-thousand people are currently on the city's waiting list for affordable housing.

Agustin Olvera, the Director for Madison's Housing Operations, says, "There is a large need for affordable housing, and the city has done a lot... There are 6,000 affordable housing listings, but the need is for more."

Olvera says 25-thousand people in Madison pay above 30-percent of their income currently on rent.

For more information on some affordable housing options, click on one of the links to the left of this story.

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