By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — There is a push to improve neighborhoods through the Stockton community with a new program offering homeowner financial relief and families more affordable housing.

The Residential Neighborhood Reinvestment Program is now available for anyone willing to buy and fix up neglected homes.

Inside various neighborhoods, in Stockton, there are several homes in total distress.

“Whether it’s kind of structure in nature, whether its water access, whether it’s rodents or those times of things, there are lots of things that can cause these issues to take place,” said Micah Runner, economic development director for the City of Stockton.

Fines and penalties can add up quickly if owners fail to pay or fix the problems. At least 100 properties have code enforcement liens of $15,000 or more, and now city leaders say they are willing to forgive and forget.

“Part of the goal is to try and help a distressed area by allowing someone else to do the improvements to the property, bring in some new tenants or people move in there directly or homeownership to move these properties along or bring them back to an appropriate level of sustainability,” said Runner.

The program is a new initiative to help people who are looking to buy and fix up single-family homes by erasing the fees and penalties that come along with code violations when a new owner brings the property into compliance.

“Sometimes when there are liens on a property, or code violations people just kind of stay away from them, so you have a harder time selling it because it’s just sitting there,” said Janet Ramirez, real estate broker for Integrity Real Estate.

Ramirez says the program will help place neglected properties get back into the housing market and create more affordable housing opportunities for families.

“I think it’s going to open up the market, for not just investors but also standard homeowners because usually, those types of rehab properties are only available for someone that has cash so if those fines can be waived then it will help a lot of people,” she said.

To be eligible, applicants must have a plan to fix the violations within one year and show the city that improving the property will have a positive effect on the neighborhood.

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