Schumer helps secure federal approval for Rochester anti-zombie home program
by: Meaghan M. McDermott
Following a push by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has signed off on a Rochester program that helps put families back into formerly “zombie” homes.
Schumer on Wednesday visited a recently renovated home on Albemarle Street in Rochester to announce he’d sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking that the agency expedite approvals for the city’s Asset Control Area Renewal Agreements, a program that had been in limbo since February. That program lets Rochester buy at low cost homes that had been foreclosed by the Federal Housing Administration.
Via its HOME Rochester initiative, since 2003 the city has used the ACA program to rehabilitate 750 formerly vacant foreclosed homes and sell them back to first-time homebuyers.
“While the City of Rochester is plagued by over 2,000 zombie homes, HUD’s renewal of the ACA is a major step in the right direction that will allow the city to turn those zombie homes into family homes,” Schumer said in an email. “The agreement will help address this zombie home epidemic by giving Rochester the right to purchase foreclosed-on homes at a cheap cost, refurbish them, and sell them to first-time homebuyers.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren thanked Schumer for his attention to the matter.
“I can’t tell you how pleased I am that HUD officials have finally signed the two-year renewal,” she said in a written statement. “Now we can move forward with eliminating zombie houses and problem properties as we continue our efforts to create safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities for our residents.”