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August 21, 2014

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County, cities hammer out plans for foreclosure funds

Clark County and the three cities in the valley are finalizing their plan to grab as much as possible of the $2 billion in federal stimulus package funds to address the foreclosure problem in Southern Nevada.

Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas are teaming up to improve their chances of landing more Neighborhood Stabilization Funds as they head into another round of fund-seeking, this time with the county as the lead agency.

In February, the county received about $23 million in federal funds in the first round of the stabilization program. North Las Vegas received about $6.8 million, Henderson received $3.2 million and Las Vegas received $14.8 million. The communities also received additional funds from the state’s portion of the program.

The collaboration is an effort to pursue even more of the federal money still available.

The municipalities have until July 17 to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

County Commissioners on Tuesday discussed what they want the funds to achieve.

The preliminary plan in front of the county recommended by the Community Resources Management Division shows targeted areas mostly in the eastern part of unincorporated Clark County, the northwest area of Las Vegas, most of North Las Vegas west of Interstate 15 and a few small neighborhoods in northwest Henderson.

The plan is designed to acquire and redevelop foreclosed homes, to help families with income below 120 percent of the median income in the valley stay in their homes and to stop the decline in home values by eliminating vacant properties.

Other areas with foreclosures may recover on their own when the market rebounds, said Mike Pawlak, manager of the Community Resources Management Division.

“The purpose of this is really to look at our good, quality, but older housing stock and try to preserve it and build it so it can go another 20 to 30 years down the road,” he said.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said he was concerned that areas having a hard time recovering will see continued blight. He said the targeted areas include some areas that have lost a lot of value but are still more valuable than other areas not included in the plan.

“When we talk about the AMI (area median income) and those properties that qualify within that threshold, we’re looking at areas of town where houses were priced at $400,000 and $500,000, which now because that value does not exist anymore, areas of town that really should qualify under these federal dollars are totally being overlooked,” Weekly said.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani agreed with Weekly and said that areas designated as blight by the former Redevelopment Agency are also not included on the proposed map.

The Redevelopment Agency was dissolved in May.

Representatives from the local governments will continue to meet and work out the final details, including the amount to ask for, Pawlak said.

The commission is expected to review the final proposal at its July 7 meeting.

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