Some lawmakers are calling foul with Rochester vacant homes being sold online. Currently there are about 3,000 vacant properties in the city. 1,800 of them are single family homes. Vacant homes cause a lot of problems for police and firefighters.
"We don't want vacant homes turning into drug houses, being turned into blight, decrepit parts of neighborhood," said Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy.
25% of the city's arsons happen in vacant homes. Senator Charles Schumer's office recently learned about an even more alarming problem. The Housing and Urban Development agency is selling Rochester's vacant homes on the web to absentee landlords for cheap. "They gobble up vacant properties online, sit on them until they can sell them for a quick buck. They don't care if the house deteriorates. They don't care about anything with the house," said Schumer.
Senator Schumer called for HUD to stop selling Rochester's houses online. He's also calling for a 3 billion dollar increase in federal funds for rehabbing abandoned houses. That money will help the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership. The agency buys vacant houses, fixes them up then sells them at discounted prices to low-income families.