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Joplin Takes Pilot Program Which May Add Low Income Housing Opti - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Takes On Pilot Program Hopefully Adding Low Income Housing Options

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Although they may be seemingly empty inside, a vacant house could be a family's new dream.
"It is allowed under the Abandoned Housing Act of Missouri. It's a state bill, it authorizes non-profits to file with the circuit court to acquire properties. These properties must be abandoned as defined by state statute" says the City of Joplin's Community Development Planner, Thomas Walters.
Which he explains as the home being vacant for a minimum of six months and the homeowners having at least one year if delinquent taxes.
The non-profit organization is required to advertise the home being potentially bought for a least a year.
"If we got wind from a neighbor that used to know the owners of the property that they moved to Miami, Florida, we actually would advertise in the local paper in Miami Make some sort of effort to contact them. Even though the probability is slim because we have no real way of tracking down people and that is the problem with these properties. They fall through the cracks."
During that year that they are trying to reach out to the home owner, they can make improvements to the home but they are not allowed to sell it. 
the city of Joplin is footing the legal bill for two property projects, but they are not required to be involved, since it is a state bill. Walker says he hopes these two Homes will make local non-profit organizations familiar with the bill and use it more often around the area. 
"Everybody likes to have a place where you can go home and kick your shoes off and call it your own. And not only does it satisfy that need but one of the problems and challenges that we had after the tornado was the fact that a lot of our moderately priced homes where destroyed" says Joplin City Councilman Gary Shaw. 
The next steps include more discussions during city council meetings, along with meetings with local non-profits that could potentially participate in the program.
So maybe in a few years, the empty house in your neighborhood could be a place somebody calls home.

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