County Neighborhoods Get Help Fighting Blight

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(Shelby County, TN) Homeowners tired of run down properties around them are getting some help from the county to clean them up.

Today, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell will announce a $600,000 program aimed at fighting blight and helping county residents hang on to their homes.

The county and city are sharing a $7.5 million dollar settlement from Wells Fargo to help neighborhoods recover from the housing crisis.

Luttrell says $600,000 will be used to improve the appearance of neighborhoods in Northaven and Waverly Farms in Southeast Shelby County.

Half of that will be used to provide grants of up to $9,000 to homeowners to make energy-efficient repairs to their houses.

The rest will be used to tackle overgrown areas and demolish vacant or abandoned structures.

People who live next to some of those properties welcome the help.

“It’s just disgusting. It makes our house look bad the way they got it there,” said James Walton.

During the next few weeks, the county will survey the areas and identify lots for cleanup and structures for demolition.

“It’s a combination of using the money to attack blight in the community, which we know is a significant issue, but equally important is the piece that will help people rehab their homes,” said Mayor Luttrell.

$4.5 million will also be used for a mortgage down payment and renovation assistance program in the city and county that will be announced next month.

Homeowners who want to apply for the grants can pick an application at the Shelby County Department of Housing, which is located at 1075 Mullins Station Road.

Applications will be accepted from October 15 through October 29, 2012 and are available online at http://www.shelbycountytn.gov/index.aspx?NID+388

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