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Doden: I’ll meet challenges of local foreclosures head-on
Reversing trend in vacancies will positively impact quality of life, city marketability
Republican mayoral candidate Eric Doden announced today his plans for combating the harmful local effects of the nationwide home-foreclosure crisis, saying more can and will be done if he’s elected mayor of Fort Wayne.
“Residential foreclosure has a corrosive effect on communities that extends far beyond the individuals involved,” Doden said. “I believe it’s imperative for city government to do everything it can to keep people in their homes and to preserve the integrity and value of our neighborhoods in Fort Wayne.”
The impact of the foreclosure crisis on Fort Wayne families has drawn the concern of local neighborhood leaders. They’ve met several times to discuss what can be done to reduce the damage wrought by foreclosure, namely in the loss of property value and neighborhood quality of life caused by vacant housing. The Indiana Supreme Court has also launched a successful pilot project in the Allen County courts to encourage mediation between lenders and homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes.
“Neighborhoods are Fort Wayne’s most basic building block,” Doden added. “They are the foundation on which everything else is built. Strong neighborhoods build a strong city, and a strong city is more attractive to companies looking to bring high-quality, high-paying jobs here. Conversely, when neighborhoods are damaged by the snowballing effects of foreclosure, our city suffers.”
Vacant homes carry a variety of negative impacts, including loss of assessed value to surrounding homes and increased turnover in otherwise stable neighborhoods. Empty homes are an inviting target for thieves in search of salvageable materials, causing even further loss of value to the property. Each foreclosure that can be prevented can preserve an average of $40,000 in value to the community in property value, taxes and other resources. The United States Census Bureau estimates that nearly 12,000 housing units currently stand vacant in Fort Wayne, the vast majority due to foreclosure.
Doden pledged, if elected, to make city government a more proactive player in promoting foreclosure awareness and in reducing the damage to the community by:
[li]Preventing potential future foreclosures by using city resources such as the 311 call center, City Utilities bill inserts, the city’s website and city government’s network of neighborhood outreach capabilities, to promote existing not-for-profit projects that offer foreclosure counseling and intervention. An example of such projects would include the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network and the Indiana Supreme Court’s Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project.[/li]
[li]Providing residents transparency and accountability by creating a dedicated website which would allow citizens to report problems with foreclosed homes and to access information on who owns the property.[/li]
[li]Addressing the existing problem by empowering Neighborhood Code Enforcement to take a proactive lead role, rather than a complaint-driven approach, in citing foreclosed homes that have been allowed to deteriorate and ordering repairs. In addition, Doden would encourage a partnership between Neighborhood Code and other agencies, such as the Health and Building departments, to pursue owners of foreclosed properties that are deteriorating and harming Fort Wayne neighborhoods.[/li]
“The foreclosure process is a complex maze for anyone to negotiate – whether it is a homeowner who is in trouble or a concerned neighbor wondering who is responsible for upkeep of a troubled property,” Doden said. “We can’t allow confusion and lack of information to continue harming our city and our neighborhoods. Going to bat against foreclosure is simply protecting the investment all of us have made in Fort Wayne.”
Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives stemming from Doden’s comprehensive plan to create jobs and attract investment to Fort Wayne. Last week, Doden shared his vision for strengthening Fort Wayne’s education system and partnerships. Prior to that, he announced his plans to promote a culture of productivity and customer service as mayor; market Fort Wayne in a targeted and aggressive campaign; leverage a portion of the light-lease fund to attract capital projects that will create jobs in Fort Wayne, as well as attract and retain a talented workforce; and attract 1,000 entrepreneurs to Fort Wayne. More information is available at ericdoden.com.
About Eric Doden
For the past two-plus years, Doden has served as the director of investments at Ambassador Enterprises, a Fort Wayne-based consulting, investment and private equity firm. Prior to joining Ambassador Enterprises, he led the distribution and fabrication arms of Ambassador Steel Corporation.
Doden graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law and from Hillsdale College with majors in business finance and Christian Studies. He is a member of the Fort Wayne Chapter of Executive Forums, a current board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a former board member of his local church. He and his wife, Maci, a Fort Wayne attorney, have been married for 12 years and have 4 children. Learn more at www.facebook.com/eric.doden.for.mayor and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/doden4mayor., on Facebook at