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Montgomery County’s Habitat for Humanity is purchasing and rehabbing ten foreclosed homes during the first half of next year. If all goes well, it could fix up roughly 30 houses total by the end of 2009, reports the Washington Business Journal.  

The plan is to pick homes in the Glenmont and Silver Spring areas where the concentration of foreclosed properties is high.

Habitat will act as the general contractor and supervise each site.

The county has funded some of Habitat’s programs through grant money in the past, but this marks the first type of partnership in which the county will fund the home purchases and hand over the deeds to Habitat. The county’s Habitat is also the first among all of its U.S. affiliates to create such an initiative.

All I have to say is bravo: use the taxpayer money! Foreclosed homes lower property values in surrounding areas, and empty houses often make less attractive properties both on the outside—-high grasses, empty rooms—-and the inside—-flooded basements, intense mold—-than occupied properties. There’s no reason to build new homes when there are so many just languishing.