Program to makeover Oakland neighborhoods


You know they say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but not this time.

A house in Oakland is going to be fixed from the top to bottom and then put on the market at an affordable price and a price that will stay affordable, forever.

It's out with the old and in with the new at a rundown foreclosed home in Oakland; the Oakland Community Land Trust is making sure their recently acquired property is getting a major facelift -- a green one at that.

"Replace the flooring with bamboo flooring, we are going to use zero VOC paint. As I say we are doing a green rehab. We are going to be redoing the kitchen completely, redoing the bathroom completely, putting new carpets in, paint everywhere," said Anne Griffith of the Oakland Community Land Trust.

The Oakland Community Land Trust is a nonprofit organization which fixes up and resells homes at a below market price, using housing and urban development money. They can do that because they retain ownership of the land, not the house. The ground lease stipulates that when a family sells the home, it will be at an affordable price to a family earning a comparable income. This is not an investment opportunity.

"We are looking at those who are making $40,000 a year in the city of Oakland. So this is an opportunity for them to move from putting their funds into rental and putting them into home ownership," said Michele Byrd of the Comm. Dev. Block Program.

The Oakland Community Land Trust bought a house for $82,000 and after the rehab and development costs -- a total $225,000 will be invested. It will be sold for $145,000. The new home owners will save a bundle. And it is believed they in turn will help to save the neighborhood.

"As you see we are located right across the street from a park and a school, and children have to pass by these neighborhoods and these houses every day, and see blight in their own communities. Today is a day of tremendous hope and possibility," said Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks.

If all goes well, the land trust will repeat this process at 200 locations in Oakland -- a small part of the more than 3,000 foreclosed residences in this city. To make sure there aren't even more foreclosures at these properties there are seminars on home ownership, including home repair available through the city of Oakland.

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