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City hopes restoring blighted homes will attract more people to KC

Posted at 8:39 PM, Nov 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 23:16:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For years, the white house with a grey roof and grey trimming on Forest Avenue has sat empty. 

The windows were boarded up and the back of the home slowly began to deteriorate as it sat on a list of available homes for sale in Kansas City. 

"During the finical crisis the Homesteading Authority received more than 100 houses," said Ted Anderson, president of Kansas City's Homesteading Authority. "This was a house that the mortgage wasn't paid on so the bank ended up taking it back in a foreclosure action and giving it to us." 

The Kansas City, Missouri Homesteading Authority is a nonprofit corporation controlled by the city. The goal of the corporation, according to Anderson, is to address the growing number of vacant and foreclosed homes in the city by selling the homes to individuals, for little money, who promise to invest money and repair the property. 

The white home was one of the Homesteading Authority properties until neighbor and realtor Doug Shafer showed it to a client. 

"You can buy them for so little," said Shafer. "We have so much vacant land and so many vacant houses and one of the things this neighborhood needs is political strength." 

On Feb. 26, 2012 Shafer's client bought the home from the city for $200. He promised to spend about $49,000 remodeling and fixing the home, which he did for a year and a half. 

Now, the white house is no longer boarded up. 

It's been completely renovated on the inside as well as the outside. And soon, it will no longer sit empty-- Dylan Galloway, who purchased the home from Shafer's client, is moving in. 

"When I walked in and looked at the level of work that had been done I was supremely impressed," Galloway said. "And for the price I was paying, I was sold immediately." 

But for Anderson, Shafer and Galloway this home represents more than just a transformation. 

"You fix up a house, you bring another homeowner, another citizen who cares, another person who won't tolerate the bad stuff that's going on the next block over or across the street and pretty soon the neighborhood perks up," said Shafer. 

In the end, they all said, it's a way to transform a neighborhood and attract people to parts of the city many have forgotten. 

"That's why it was important to us," said Galloway. "A lot of these older neighborhoods have been looked over for a really long time and all they really need is people who care about living in the area and making sure the area they live in is nice." 

To see what homes are available for sale by the Kansas City, Missouri Homesteading Authority, click here.