The community of 1,650 homes, which has about 55 vacant houses, has been approved by DeKalb County as the target neighborhood for funds from the U.S. Department of Housing.
The HUD program provides for fund recipients to demolish blighted structures and to acquire, refurbish and sell foreclosed or abandoned homes.
While the money has been allocated for DeKalb County, an application to receive the funds must be filed to HUD by March 1.
A response is expected by April 15, and officials hope to see work going on in the community by summer.
Pauline Dailey, president of the Hidden Hills Civic Association, said she appreciates the focus on her neighborhood, a former golf course community located off South Hairston and Redan roads.
“I think they chose Hidden Hills because they felt like it was on the edge of going one way or the other,” Dailey said. “Rather than see it go from being a top neighborhood to nothing, they chose us so that we could maintain.”
DeKalb County received $18.5 million in 2009 from the first year of the neighborhood stabilization funds, known as NSP1.
Chris Morris, DeKalb’s director of community development, said applicants for the current year’s program, NSP3, were directed to focus on neighborhoods, rather than doing isolated projects over wide areas.
“When we look at many factors that strengthen neighborhoods, NSP3 funds by themselves won’t do it,” Morris said. “But when you combine NSP3 funds with an active homeowners association and an activity level where the neighborhood is already working to address issues … we can all work together to say we’ve made a difference.”
Morris said Hidden Hills was selected after a local market analysis was conducted by professors Michael Rich and Moshe Haspel of Emory University’s Office of University-Community Partnerships.
The professors were commissioned by the county to find the HUD-deemed “areas of greatest need” based on the number of foreclosures, seriously delinquent loans, vacated homes and high-cost mortgages.
They also developed local criteria to produce more comprehensive neighborhood profiles, looking at such factors as population change, home sales and whether neighborhoods were already involved in improvement activities.
That’s where Hidden Hills scored big.
The civic association’s overlay committee has been working for several years with neighboring communities and county planners on a blueprint for new development in an area bounded by Redan Road, Covington Highway, Panola Road and South Hairston Road.
Hidden Hills’ privately owned golf course was abandoned years ago.
Dailey, who has been the civic association’s president for two years, doesn’t know the number of foreclosures in the neighborhood, but she does know that three homes on her street alone were lost to foreclosure.
“We’re looking forward to those [empty] homes being sold to the fireman, the teacher, people who can bring some quality to the neighborhood,” Dailey said.
Under the first Neighborhood Stabilization Program, 27 second mortgages and 81 homes were bought and rehabilitated in DeKalb. Of those homes, 29 were sold, generating about $2 million in program income, Morris said.
That first-year funding also helped fuel the $9.5 million renovation of the 168-unit Cedar Pines apartments in Clarkston.
Renamed Avalon on Montreal, the complex was purchased at foreclosure by Cortland Partners, which received a $4.9 million loan in Neighborhood Stabilization funds.
The rehab work to be done in Hidden Hills will provide short-term job and fee-for-service opportunities for area small businesses.
Interested parties are asked to wait until mid-April to contact the Hidden Hills Civic Association for information by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2010 Total Pending Foreclosures, Single Family Residential
January 2011 Total Pending Foreclosures, Single Family Residential
Source: DeKalb County, Atlanta Foreclosure Report
Down payment assistance
Up to $25,000 in down payment assistance is still available for some of DeKalb’s NSP1 homes. For information, contact one of these county contractors:
-ANDP Homes – www.ANDPHomes.org; 404-420-1600.
-Real Estate Alliance Partners P&S – www.realhomeonline.com; 404-808-4405.