With more than 300 homes currently in foreclosure in the city, a workshop is scheduled for Aug. 13.
BY WAYNE GRANT | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Neglected houses and families forced to leave their homes symbolize the foreclosure crisis. But city officials have arranged two workshops to help residents resolve their problems.
The housing crisis not only affects real estate and the lives of the people involved, it’s a burden on the city, which loses fees on utility taxes, franchise fees and water and sewer charges. Kelly McGuire, finance director, said the city estimates the loss at about $100,000 per year.
There are many options people can pursue, however, according to Fran Gordon of Mid-Florida Housing Partnership, a nonprofit organization that helps homeowners resolve housing problems. Florida is the top state in the nation for foreclosures, but there are federal programs here to help.
“Ormond Beach has more than 300 homes in some state of foreclosure,” Gordon said. “Everybody is in a different situation.”
She said there are ways people can catch up if they have fallen behind in their mortgage payments. One option is a short sale, for those who don’t want to stay in the home or have fallen too far behind.
The two workshops are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Aug. 13 and Sept. 10, in the City Hall Training Room.
Counselors will be on hand to help people who are struggling to make mortgage payments, have become unemployed or face foreclosure.
Mid-Florida Housing Partnership will also provide advice at the September seminar. The August seminar will have counselors from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.
The idea for the workshops was born in a meeting arranged by a civic organization, Citizens for Ormond Beach Inc. Representatives of banks, city government, real estate and other fields exchanged ideas at the meeting and decided workshops that inform people of available resources would be a good first step.
Rita Press, a member of the civic organization, said foreclosure is a broad and complicated problem faced by every community.
“We work with the city as partners,” she said. “That’s why we get things done.”
Joanne Naumann, neighborhood improvement director, said the city commission approved an ordinance in 2010, the Abandoned Real Property Ordinance, to deal with the problem of neglected homes.
After a lender gives notice of foreclosure, they must notify the city. If the house is unoccupied, the lender must hire a contractor to maintain the property.
“It’s working to some extent,” she said.
Some lenders are apparently not aware of the ordinance.
Naumann said if her department is notified about a neglected home by a citizen, they check to see if a foreclosure notice has been filed. If it has been filed and the house is unoccupied, the bank is responsible for maintenance. If the house is occupied, the homeowner is responsible and normal code enforcement procedures follow.