Kokomo has not been immune to the rising tide of home foreclosures, adding to the other economic hardships and problems for so many hard working citizens.
Through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), in 2009 the City of Kokomo received $2.18 million in federal stimulus funding and immediately established a successful program for neighborhood stabilization through the purchase and redevelopment of vacant, foreclosed homes in the city.
To accomplish this, by September of 2009 the City had established a strategic plan, issued a Request for Proposals and entered into a contract with Mecca Companies, Inc., a well established Indiana firm, with the understanding that any work being done would be performed by local contractors. To date, fourteen homes have been acquired and totally rehabilitated. With up to 20 percent down-payment assistance being made available to qualified home buyers in the form of forgivable loans and pre-purchase home ownership counseling, the homes are now being sold, and properties are being placed back on the tax roles. Approximately $20,000 in annual property tax revenue has been immediately reestablished, and over 50 employees from seven local contracting firms have directly benefited from the NSP as well. For example, two local construction companies on the verge of closing their doors have not only recovered, but have dramatically increased their workforce. And because of the trickle-down effect, a positive impact has been seen elsewhere in the local economy. The program is yet another example of how the City of Kokomo has aggressively pursued additional funding and established new partnerships, while working with existing local companies to further improve the quality of life and appeal of our community.