Prince George’s County Moves To Establish Foreclosure Relief Fund

Funds would help move foreclosed properties off market.

The Prince George’s County Council is moving to establish a fund to help fight rampant foreclosures throughout the county.

Council members Tuesday proposed a bill to establish the Foreclosure Recovery Fund, which would provide money to help circumvent foreclosures in the county.

The resolution noted that Prince George’s County has the highest foreclosure rate in the state, accounting for 27 percent of Maryland’s foreclosure filings during the last three months of 2011. More than 56,000 homes were caught up in foreclosure between 2007-2010.

Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2) of Hyattsville sponsored the legislation. He said no funding had been described in the proposal but at least $10 million would be needed for the bill to be effective.

“We have to ante up,” he said. “We haven’t done anything like this [before]… We would easily need a minimum of $10 million.”

The bill calls for the county to support private investments, to attract new homebuyers and expand partnerships with non-profits. The funds would be largely used to move foreclosed properties off the market, but portions would also be used to prevent residents from going into foreclosure, Campos said.

“This isn’t going to be a silver bullet but it’s a great [start],” he said.

A timetable for when the funds would be available has not been set yet, Campos said. But the funds would come through grants and loans, including an application process through the Department of Housing and Community Development.

The bill would still have to clear a final vote from the county council. Today, council members sent it to a subcommittee for discussion.

Over the last year, county officials had been working to bolster the county’s economy. Last year, the council aimed at attracting businesses to the county and aiding existing ones. But Campos said it was time for the council to begin focusing on quelling the county’s high foreclosure rate.

“We’ve been working on this for almost a year trying to figure out what’s the best practice,” he said.


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