New efforts to clean up run down rental homes

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

MARION, IL (KFVS) - New efforts are underway to clean up some run down rental homes in Marion, Illinois.

Organizers say its part of the city's push to improve the community. If approved, the cleanup would be funded through the department of Housing and Urban Development but run through the city of Marion.  That has some Marion residents hopeful  when it comes to cleaning up their block.

From Bob and Lana Emery's driveway, one of their views is piles and piles of garage in their neighbor's backyard.

"It looks terrible," Lana Emery said. "It makes the property value go down."

A recliner sits on the front porch, along with a coffee cup and more trash.  James Clogjo owns the rental home in Marion.  He says it's been empty for about a year.  Just a few blocks away, another of Clogjo's rental properties is also in need of desperate repair.

"I have had damage done to them," Clogjo said. "Right now my cost of fixing them is more than I'm finically able to do."

But if Marion get a thumbs up from HUD's Rental Rehabilitation Program it will provide Clogjo, and other landlords, with funds to fix up their properties.   Director of Community Economic Development for Williamson County Celeste Sollers says it's a way to improve neighborhoods and the lives of renters.

"It improves the property for the rentals, it allows people who are low income to have a nice place to live in and improves the quality of the homes that landlords own," Sollers said.

Under the program HUD picks up 75 percent of the rehab tab. The landlord pays the other 25 percent. It's a spilt, which Clogjo says will make it possible for him to clean up his run down rental homes.

"(I have) about four that are just sitting needing repairs I can not financially repair at this point without some help," Clogjo said.  "Hopefully I'll be able to get some support here and get them back on the market."

For the Emery's, it's an improvement they would like next door much sooner than later.

"It's a mess," Bob Emery said. "It needs to be cleaned up."

But the federal dollars are no guarantee. The city is still in the early stages of the application process. Sollers says they expect to hear by next winter if Marion will receive the funds.

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