I didn't know it was that bad:
ROBBIE JOHNSON doesn’t like what she sees from the porch of the three-family house she rents on Seymour Avenue in Newark. The 61-year-old resident moved into one unit two months ago to wait while a spot in a senior housing complex opens for her.
“I just moved here and I’m already sorry I moved here,” she said as she waited for a ride to the doctor.
This stretch of Seymour Avenue in the Clinton Hill section once had one of the highest homeownership rates in Newark. But now, Ms. Johnson barely has to turn her head to look at six homes that are in foreclosure or have been left vacant. Teenagers party in the vacant houses and an accumulation of trash is attracting rats and mice, she said.
“What bothers me are these vacant houses,” she said. “It affects you and your view. It affects your health.”
At least 60 homes on Seymour Avenue have been in some stage of foreclosure since 2005, according to an analysis of foreclosure data across the region by The New York Times.
“Seymour Avenue probably looks the worst,” said Kathe Newman, an assistant professor of Urban Planning and Policy Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University who has extensively studied foreclosures in the state’s largest city.
This block is one of the dozens that Newark officials are trying to save. Newark has a 23 percent homeownership rate, lower than many other cities, and foreclosure is affecting some of the city’s most stable neighborhoods with the highest home ownership rates like Clinton Hill, Vailsburg and the new residential areas that sprouted during the building boom of the 1990s, including Sumo Village in the South Ironbound section.
Using $3.4 million in federal money from the July 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act, city officials have begun a program to allow area nonprofit organizations to buy, repair and resell foreclosed homes. The new owners will undergo homeownership classes. The city will also compete for a chunk of $2 billion from President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package that will be distributed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to expand its programs and to help surrounding municipalities.
Newark has embarked on a series of events to educate homeowners about fraudulent homeowner-assistance programs. In one such event in March, residents fanned out through Newark and took down more than 700 “We Buy Houses” signs that officials say are posted by people looking to swindle troubled owners.
Two other events that brought together lenders and homeowners to discuss how to renegotiate mortgages that are in arrears attracted about 1,000 people.
“This is the most amazing collaboration between the city, nonprofits and the community,” Ms. Newman said. “The city has been working aggressively to build relationships. The sign-teardown effort was important to bring the community together and eliminate the potential for scams.”
The city said it would use another powerful tool at its disposal to get banks to help homeowners who are on the brink of losing their homes. Officials have said that the city will make its decisions about where to deposit its vast accounts, from tax collections and other funds, by looking at which banks are most cooperative.
“The key to successfully enabling residents to work out their foreclosures is sometimes as simple as sitting them down with their lenders,” said Stefan Pryor, the deputy mayor for economic development. “The criteria by which we judge which banks to use will include how responsive they are to dealing with foreclosures.”
In 2005, Newark had more than 600 homes in foreclosure. In the first eight months of 2008, the city had more than 1,800, according to the analysis by The Times of foreclosure data.
Subprime loans — which had looser lending standards and higher interest rates than other loans — made up 60 percent of primary- and secondary-lien home mortgages granted between 2005 and 2007 in Newark, compared with 22 percent in New Jersey, according to an analysis of mortgage lending data by The Times.
The interest rates on more than 2,200 loans are expected to adjust upward by the end of this year, said Michael Meyer, Newark’s director of housing and real estate, which might mean many borrowers will face higher payments, and possibly more trouble meeting them.
Joseph Della Fave, executive director of the Ironbound Community Corporation, said he was seeing more higher-income residents seeking help to pay for basics like electricity bills, and more clients seeking help for domestic violence.
“Some of the families are picking up and moving back to the old country,” Mr. Della Fave said. “We’ve had 10 people this year return to South America.”
In many neighborhoods, the problem caused by foreclosure may be underestimated, Ms. Newman said.
“We are counting the number of names on mailboxes in heavily immigrant neighborhoods and what looks like a three-family house is actually a six-family house,” she said. “When those houses go into foreclosure it’s not just the borrowers, it’s also the renters living there who are left shuffling around.”
The goal now is to get ahead of the problem, Mr. Pryor said. The city has changed its tax abatement rules to give developers an incentive to complete projects in danger of being abandoned. An abandoned property law has made it easier for the city to group pieces of land together for redevelopment as it has done with 12 city blocks in the city’s West Ward.
City officials and nonprofit groups are fanning out into neighborhoods to tell residents that they do not have to vacate their homes as soon as foreclosure begins. The New Jersey Public Advocate’s office announced last year that landlords who force tenants out because of foreclosure could face civil and criminal penalties.
“This is a situation where understanding your rights and the resources available to you can make a huge difference,” said Stephanie Greenwood, coordinator of the Newark/Essex County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce.
Donald A. Baldyga Jr., director of real estate development for Episcopal Community Development, has applied to receive some of the $3.4 million to buy and repair foreclosed homes. He is using other funds to repair two foreclosed homes in the Clinton Hill section.
“I want people to see something is happening,” he said. “What we are really saying is: ‘Hold on. Help is coming.’ ”
There was an article in the Times several years ago about those buildings. The windows don't open and a guy posted (maybe on Curbed) that people spit in the elevators there and 'leave things behind' in the cars as well. But yes, it is an extremely attractive price.
Even animals have it rough here
NEwark Police Horses
Last week some people I know went to the local horse auction. There were two horses who got no bids and were sent to #10 which is the killer buyers number. The killer buyer buys these horses and ships them to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered for human consumption since the US Horse slaughter plants for human consumption have closed down. It is a long ride to slaughter with as many horses of all sizes, ages, temperaments etc are crammed in livestock trailers and shipped with out food, water or rest for days. On a NJ horse board I frequent, we have saved a number of horses from this fate, including one three year old filly I have in my barn today. Word got out about these two horses, who were former Newark Police Department horses and an effort was made to pass the word and save these guys. "We" emptied the Kill pen this week with all the horses finding good homes, including the two Newark PD horses. My hope is that this story gets "out" . The City of Newark whose civil service employees get retirement benefits that the Public sector could only dream of, doesn't give their animal employees a better retirement, infact there is no retirement, just a grizzly death after years of service. Those horses were out of the Kill Pen and in homes within 4 days of the auction so Newark COULD have advertised them for adoption rather then sending them to the sale, they just didn't.
The women that bought one of these horses traced his old owner through his tattoo and racing records. Never in a million years did this owner have expected their donation to end up on someones dinner plate.
My goal is simple.........it is to insure that civil service animal employees get a dignified retirement when they can't work in the community any longer. Of course we can't take care of them as well as the other double or triple pension padders we have in this State, but a dignified retirement for a horse means fresh water, grass pasture and a little TLC, it isn't that much to ask is it?
I would appreciate it if you agree with me, you contact your local represenative and
Cory A. Booker, Mayor
City Hall, Room 200
Be a voice for the voiceless
Last edited by block944; May 18th, 2009 at 03:18 AM.
Brick City Urban Farms
Help Decide What We Grow!
April 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized
We hope that you stayed warm this winter and are dreaming about the hot, sunny, days to come. Here at Brick City Urban Farms we are ready to get our hands back in the dirt again. We’ve been daydreaming about cucumbers, okra and fresh basil and we are so looking forward to offering the best locally grown produce for you and your families right in downtown Newark. We are thrilled to announce that Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District has agreed to give us a 2nd season of “the farm” on their Washington/Spruce Street Lot! We also have a rooftop location in the Ironbound and we plan to be in other areas throughout the city.
So while we count the days until the last frost of the season, we thought that we would collect some information from you all in order to make sure that everyone is able to find what they are looking for, when they are looking for it at our farms this summer!
Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey and tell us what you would like us to grow and share your thoughts, ideas, frustrations with us so that we can work together to make Brick City Urban Farms (Season II) the best ever! (click anywhere on this paragraph to view the survey)
We are looking forward to working with you in the coming months!
→ 1 CommentTags:Basil·Cucumber·Ironbound·Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District·Okra·Rooftop Garden
2 New designs:
As exurbanization starts to gain speed I see Univ Heights Newark being the next hotspot
Tried the village link and it left me in a loop of trying to save...?
Schools such as the Robert Treat opening in Newark is great for the city. My view upon this whole issue of Newark becoming better is this. If we fix our public school system, then we should have no problem. Why? Well the reason why is because the school system is what produces the money for the city, that is if students stays in the city that is. If we have successful residents graduate high school, go onto college, get a medium to high paying job, and still stay in Newark...thats good for the city. Because then we will have residents with jobs, which should lower the crime level, these residents will have disposable income, therefore signaling retailers to come and post shop in Newark. And many other things to start flooding into our city like more office towers, entertainment venues, and more.
Look at NYC, the reason why there are so many beautiful condos, apts, and lofts is because you have NYC residents who have the money to spend. Which is also due to the numerous paying jobs in NYC. Not only do developers look at this, but retailers and everyone alike will see this, they will do anything they can to take a chunk of the new/available market.
But if you look at Newark whose residents don't have that many jobs which kind of explains the absence of the beatiful high rise luxury residential buildings, and the absense of the Best Buys and JC Penny's. If Booker can improve the city's public school system (or whoever is responsible for that), and create jobs by luring in businesses and etc., then Newark maybe on an upspring. But the point is, Newarkers must have some type of educational foundation to make it in America.
But if this problem with Newarkers getting a good education and a good job and contributling to the taxes that is much needed for the city, developers will be the solution to this problem. Look at Jersey City, which use to be just like Newark (In terms of severe crime, unemployment rate, and etc.), but now it has homes ranging to the millions (But the only reason why developers are running to JC is because of NYC across the river), now JC has numerous new tax payers and revnue for the city.
Developers who build these residential towers for middle class and upper class people who live outside of the city isnt favored much by residents who can't afford it. But the positive to this is this, new tax payers for the city, new residents...period, new additions to the skyline, new stores opening, restaurants, offices, and the list can go on and on. But whether people like it or not, these projects are severly needed for Newark. If we just have at least 10 of these projects, Newark will really see a tun around. And trust me, I've seen numerous proposals for pojects such as 999 Broad St. (Which will be built! I spoke with the man in charge of this project)...they're coming...as soon as the economy gets better lol!
But I'm more interested in this development project that will span 5 city blocks...and its only phase 1, I cant imagine what Phase 2 would look like. God Bless Berggruen Holdings, thats the project that we should be anticipated for...oh and the Red Bull Park Arena opening across the arena will be a development magnet...it should be.
Im Josh by the way....
Uh oh, here comes the buffonery:
"Zabala said the Newark UEZ will have to rethink new projects and will have to pull back funding from others. He said the Newark UEZ helps fund streetscape projects, including one on Ferry Street in the Ironbound. "
Cities balk as state demands $40M back
Saturday, May 23, 2009 BY CARMEN JURI
Asking cities to return millions of dollars because of a state error will halt major economic development projects that help stimulate the economy, according to mayors and Urban Enterprise Zone directors around New Jersey.
In addition, officials believe the state has miscalculated the amount of money cities have to return.
Officials were left reeling last week after they learned their cities must return $40million to the state Treasury Department after a state auditor discovered the money had been inadvertently placed in the wrong account for the past three years. The Treasury Department said half of a 1 percentage point sales tax increase, which went into effect in July 2006, should have been deposited in the state's Property Tax Relief Fund, but the money was instead placed in an Urban Enterprise Zone account.
As a result, cities like Elizabeth and Newark may have to postpone projects, officials said. But in many cases, those funds already have been spent or committed to long-term projects. Elizabeth needs to return more than $3.8 million and Newark is being asked to return $4.7million, according to the Treasury Department.
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said a $1.8million project to install 150 security cameras throughout the city will be delayed or halted as a result of having to return UEZ funds.
Vineland in Cumberland County must return the most money -- $5.1million -- followed by Jersey City at $4.9million, according to the Treasurer's Office.
Bollwage called the act "a short-sighted money grab on behalf of the treasurer with no thought to the implication of economic development and creation of jobs in New Jersey" and called an emergency meeting for next Wednesday in Elizabeth to address the issue.
"The most outrageous claim in all of this is that it's being done retroactively," Bollwage said. "The cities create jobs, make communities safer. Now we have to give it back. Why are they punishing cities that have done a good job for their communities?"
State Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Ryan said if a city already has spent or committed funding to projects, the DCA and Treasury will work with officials on a repayment plan that will not endanger the projects.
The DCA runs the UEZ program, which began in 1983 to encourage business growth and stimulate local economies. The program offers tax and other financial incentives. The zones allow businesses to charge half the normal sales tax, and the revenue generated helps fund development within the zones.
10 Most Affordable Big metro areas where residents are most able to afford to buy a home.
Affordability IndexMedian home price
Grand Rapids, MI
10 Least Affordable
Big metro areas where residents are least able to afford to buy a home.
Median home price
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Ana, CA
El Paso, TX
Source: NAHB/Wells Fargo
Copyrighted, CNNMoney. All Rights Reserved.
^I believe a major reason the Newark metro has a least affordable rank is because of NYC proximity. (Many Newark suburbs are affluent)
A bargain in the Newark-area (or NYC for that matter) would be an outrage in other parts of the country.