New program to renovate foreclosed homes announced in Tampa

"That right there is a cancer in a neighborhood," Buckhorn announced, staring to his left. "And if you don't deal with that situation right there, what happens is, it spreads from house to house, block to block. ...not getting that fixed, only serves as a virus in the neighborhood, and what you see is the dopers moving in, the prostitutes moving in, the crackheads moving in, and house by house people will abandon it because they don't want to live next to it."

Invoking the words of former Presidents Clinton and Bush Jr., Buckhorn said giving somebody the opportunity for home ownership is the "most powerful things you can do for anybody."

The mortgage products will be available through First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. The Frierson home is being managed by ADP Solutions out of Atlanta, through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program of Tampa.

Vaughn D. Irons, chief executive officer of ADP Solutions in Atlanta, said the firm has been active in similar programs throughout the country, managing 11 different neighborhood stabilization programs.

Neighborhood Stabilization Programs use federal funds to rehabilitate distressed homes primarily in individual cities.

"Every one of the lives that we can influence because they drive down the street and then they have hope in home ownership again becomes important through programs like this, " Irons said.

He added there are five houses that his group is working on are mostly located in East Tampa. He believed the house where today's event was held would sell for approximately $50,000.

A local neighbor, Ricc Rollins, said he and others in his neighborhood ("don't call it 'the hood' he insisted) were heartened by seeing the home being repaired.

For more information on Get Home Now, call 877-484-6669 or visit

  • East Tampa resident Ricc Rollins says the renovated home is great for his community

Between 2008 to 2010, there was 775 foreclosures in East Tampa, and only 74 new homes built in the area. "That's an epidemic," says Ernest Coney Jr., the Chief Operating Officer for the Corporation to Development Communities of Tampa, Inc. (CDC).

Monday morning in East Tampa, Coney was joined by U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, as well as local and federal officials to announce the launch of the regional Get Home Now program. Part of a national effort, the $15 million local campaign aims to give working families the opportunity to purchase homes through federally insured renovation mortgages.

A press conference was held near the corner of Frierson Avenue and 15th Street in East Tampa, in the backyard of a home that is on its way to become the first renovated property in the public-private partnership. It was juxtaposed against a home next door that is vacant and in desperate need of renovation itself, a contrast that both Congresswoman Castor and Mayor Buckhorn alluded to in their remarks.

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