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Hennepin County Program Renovates Vacant Homes, Revitalizes Businesses and Neighborhoods

March 14, 2017 09:26 AM

The first of several tax-forfeited homes in Hennepin County will be put up for sale by the end of March.

The homes in Minneapolis, Golden Valley and Crystal are part of a $1.2 million pilot project the county is managing for the state.  

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The area was hit especially hard by the 2008 housing bust.  

The county is using small, mainly minority-run businesses to renovate the homes.  

Fourteen contractors were awarded jobs. Generally, it's been difficult for emerging contractors to compete with bigger ones for county or state contracts. That's why Hennepin County lowered the insurance premium it requires contractors to carry, and re-tooled how it pays the firms to help keep the cash flow consistent.

"We are quick to pay the contracts," Gilbert Odonkor, who works in the purchasing department for Hennepin County, said. 

"Ten days instead of perhaps monthly."

The empty, often blighted homes were turned over to the state because of unpaid taxes. If left untouched, they often become crime magnets, fire hazards or dumping grounds. Hennepin County manages 88 out of 370-plus tax-forfeited homes in Minnesota.

The homes will be sold for their appraised market value, anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000. The sale pays for contractors and materials with any proceeds going back to the county.  

Credits

Beth McDonough

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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