Is housing rehabilitation a wise investment?
Cynics might read a story such as the one in Thursday’s Gazette about housing rehabilitation in Janesville and suggest the program is just another example of wasteful government spending.
Does the program, however, merit support?
Since 2009, the city has used federal grants to buy dozens of foreclosed and dilapidated homes. Most are demolished. The city sinks grant dollars into refurbishing others before reselling them. A home typically gets a new roof and appliances and new plumbing, electrical and heating systems. The house is made energy-efficient. Any lead paint is removed. The idea is to prepare the home so a buyer won’t suddenly face major repairs.
Thursday’s story provided financial details such as those involved in restoring a 1,600-square-foot two-story home at 410 Johnson St. The purchase price was $25,740. Rehabilitation costs and other fees totaled nearly $110,000. Yet the home is on the market for just $73,000.
Critics cried foul. What’s the point, they ask, of sinking that many tax dollars into a home and then selling it for such a drastic loss?
We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Tuesday.