City of Milwaukee uses grant money to demolish foreclosed homes

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee is getting $500,000 to help tear down foreclosed homes left vacant to deteriorate. Some Milwaukee residents are happy to get rid of the eyesores in their neighborhood.

Milwaukee resident Catriece Perry says, "You have your house looking nice, then it's your neighbor's house looking nice then there goes an abandoned house. It just brings the value of the other homes down."

Jeff Fleming says the Department of City Developement is well aware of the problem. In February, Mayor Tom Barrett estimated Milwaukee had 4,800 houses that needed to come down. At the time, area mayors slammed the state for using $25 million from a national mortgaged settlement to plug the budget gap instead of giving it to cities for demolitions.

The City of Milwaukee says officials say they're looking beyond state and federal grants to fund future demolitions. Fleming says, "The problem is always going to be bigger than the government resources that we have to correct them, but we're working to make sure we have the maximum impact in Milwaukee."

Fleming says the city is looking at possible partnership with private businesses to raise more money for demolitions. He also says Milwaukee would prefer to renovate vacant houses, but in these cases the repairs would cost more than the demolitions.