Vacant homes are one of the biggest problems facing the Village of Dolton. Sunday’s fire is further proof of why we must get the foreclosure problem under control. Currently, there are more than 1,100 homes in Dolton that are in pre-foreclosure, ready for auction or bank-owned.
In addition to these vacant homes becoming a blight on the community, they are an invitation to trespassers engaged in illegal activity.
As a candidate for mayor of Dolton, I have made the village’s foreclosure crisis a priority issue. Besides the obvious danger these vacant properties pose to neighboring residents, they also are a financial drain on Dolton’s annual budget. Dolton is facing a $1 million shortfall from real estate taxes. Tax collections are at 71 percent, which is 19 percent less than optimum. Consequently, the loss of properties from the tax rolls is having a domino effect on village finances and services.
We need a mayor who will use all available tools to stabilize our neighborhoods and keep homeownership affordable for seniors. To protect our greatest assets, I will work with lenders and housing organizations to make foreclosed homes available for prospective first-time homeowners; bring together residents, loan services and housing counselors to explore all available mortgage options to help residents keep their homes; and decrease the number of vacant and abandoned properties. We also will work with trade unions to rehab vacant properties and provide job training.
We cannot put Dolton residents at risk by not aggressively addressing the most important issue facing our village. Thankfully, no lives were lost in Sunday’s fire.