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First Foreclosed Home Renovated By HUD Sold

State and federal housing officials Wednesday unveiled the first previously-foreclosed home renovated with federal stimulus funds.

The stimulus money came through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization program. Mayor Greg Fischer says the house is one of several abandoned or foreclosed homes in the city to receive a makeover using federal dollars.

“Louisville has received a little bit over ten million dollars of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding and we’ve partnered with a handful of non-profit developers in several neighborhoods. Such as this one here in Newburg, also in Portland, Shawnee, Smoketown, Shelby Park and a few others,” he says.

Fischer says more than 50 additional properties are also being rehabilitated.

The house is also the first in the HUD program to be sold in Louisville. Stephanie Miller, a single mother of three, is the new owner.

“I’m glad to be a part of the NSP program it was perfect timing for me,” she says. “I’ve been working on this for a long time, but I was glad to see that there and made available to me and my family to get this going. I always lived in this area so it wasn’t hard for me to decide to pick a home here.”

Miller says she and her family will be moving in within a week or so.

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State of Affairs

State of the News

It’s a hodge-podge of news this week on State of thew New. We’ll talk about everything from the algae in the water to a double hand transplant to New Albany’s view on the tolling issue. Join us on Friday for another edition of State of the News.

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Local News

Property Values, Foreclosures Level in Louisville

The Louisville Property Valuation Administrator’s office has been conducting a two-year study of home foreclosures.  Spokesperson Donna Hunt says the county saw about 2000 foreclosures last year.

“And we’re plotting those, and we can tell you that, year to year, we can see the values going down where there are high concentrations of foreclosures.  The rest of the county, a lot of it is just perception.  A lot of buyers are just scared to get in the market right now,” says Hunt.

Hunt says property values in other parts of Jefferson County have mostly stayed flat. And although home sales are sluggish, she says Louisville has mostly escaped the rollercoaster markets found on the nation’s coasts.

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In-Depth News Local News

Number Of Kentucky Foreclosures Relatively Low

The national mortgage crisis is driving foreclosure rates skyward in some states, but so far, that has not been the case in Kentucky. And as Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh reports, proactive steps taken by state leaders may be part of the reason why.

Last month, 304-thousand properties, or one in every 416 American households, were in foreclosure. RealtyTrac.com says national foreclosure rates are up 27-percent from August 2007. States with the highest foreclosure rates are Nevada, California and Arizona, followed by Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois and Indiana. Kentucky, with a 75%homeownership rate, is faring better. The Commonwealth’s annual foreclosure rate currently stands at six percent, 42nd in the nation. But it has risen in recent years.

“In 2005 foreclosure sales, we had 10,100. In 2006, we had 14,000. In 2007, we had 15,900, and 2008, year-to date-foreclosures through the end of June, is at 8,500. So if it continues on the previous track, we’re probably looking at about 17,000 for 2008,” says Scott Brown of the Administrative Office of the Courts, which tracks fees paid to Master Commissioners who sell foreclosed properties on courthouse steps.

The highest foreclosure rates are in Jefferson, Kenton, Boone and Fayette counties. Some of the lowest rates are in eastern Kentucky. But the recent rise in foreclosure rates is of concern to state leaders, and legislation approved by the 2008 General Assembly is helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. House Bill 552, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Thompson, created the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center.

“This is a very proactive step that is hopefully going to help people have an option and opportunity to find a means to not have to go into foreclosure, to expose them to different options that are available to allow them to keep their most important and precious asset, and that is their house,” Thompson said.

Last month in Owensboro, Governor Steve Beshear announced establishment of the center, which is administered by the Kentucky Housing Corporation. KHC CEO Richard McQuady says the center’s help line has already received calls from more than six hundred families.

“If somebody is in trouble, they can call toll free, 866.830.7866, or they can contact us through our website, which is ProtectMyKyHome.com,” McQuady said.

He says the center is partnering with a network of counseling agencies, with offices strategically located across the Commonwealth.

“One of my concerns was that we wouldn’t have enough counselors throughout the state, but we are very fortunate in Kentucky that we have a very large network of counselors. In fact, we have as many per capita trained counselors as any other state in the country.”

And while McQuady’s pleased with the progress made so far, a steady decline in Kentucky’s foreclosure rate would make him a lot happier. “But I still think the Homeowner Protection Center is something that’s very important. And so, what I would like to do is in the future, is to have this protection center keep the individual website and keep the partners and it will consist of everything. I mean you’re talking pre-purchase counseling, post-purchase counseling, home ownership education, as well as foreclosure and loss mitigation-related counseling,” he said.

McQuady’s report on the center’s progress was well received by lawmakers in Frankfort. Members of the House/Senate Banking and Insurance committee were particularly impressed to learn the foreclosure rate on homes financed through the Kentucky Housing Corporation…which helps some of the state’s most needy become homeowners…is a mere 1.2%

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Local News

Habitat For Humanity Could House Foreclosed Families

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville celebrated a milestone Thursday. But as the group’s work has been broadened in response to the mortgage crisis.

After celebrating the construction of Habitat’s 300th home in Louisville, Executive Director Rob Locke said the group may soon get some new clients.

“It’s certainly possible that families who have lost their homes due to foreclosure are eligible to buy habitat homes,” he says. “To buy a habitat home you have to need it and you have to be able to afford it.”

The group has recently refurbished homes under foreclosure and donated by banks.

Locke says people who lost homes to foreclosure will qualify for Habitat homes once they rebuild their credit. Habitat for Humanity offers eligible families zero interest mortgages to purchase the dwellings.