PORT ST. LUCIE - New numbers out prove Florida is one of the hardest hit states for foreclosures in the entire country. The numbers from "Realtytrac" show more than 95,000 homes are in foreclosure right now. We rank fourth in the nation in total filings. That is up nearly 25% from this time last year.
Abandoned, foreclosed properties are eyesores in Port St. Lucie neighborhoods. We first told you how in February the city received $13.5 million dollars in economic stimulus money. The idea: cities across the country pushed to buy abandoned homes, knock them down or fix them up. So far, the city has bought 37 homes and torn down 10. Pat Selmer, Assistant Director with Port St. Lucie's Community Services, says, "We are hitting those areas that are going to be devastated if we don't do something." Some residents are thankful for the help. Resident, Jeremy Fink, says, "I think it's great. They are buying the property and cleaning up all the streets." Achim Freyberg says, "It was a good idea and hopefully they tear it down and there's nothing else you can do to it." Other neighbors, though, wishing they didn't look at an empty lot. Neighbor, William Catchpole, says, "I think it's crazy. They have more money in that lot than what houses are selling for." But Rosa Reina with the city says these changes are for the better, "Our intention is to stabilize the neighborhoods and putting families in there." That goal is key in the next 10 months to clean up neighborhoods, and help spur people to buy homes. Once the city is finished cleaning up the houses they will sell them and offer down payment assistance.