Have a $1? You can be a Trenton homeowner

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Trenton has an offer some may not be able to refuse. (WPVI)

Trenton's mayor is taking a unique approach to fixing the city's most blighted properties. He's offering to sell them for $1 apiece, but the bargain comes with a few catches.

Trenton has over 6,000 vacant or abandoned homes and lots in the city, boarded up, falling apart, filled with trash. That's almost a quarter of all the properties in town.

Willie Ellis lives right next door to one of them on Spring Street.

"People been using it as a dumping ground and whatnot in the back. It's got trees growing up from the foundation. I can't even let my grandson go play in the yard because of mosquitoes, possums," Ellis said.

There may be hope for Ellis and other residents. Under a new program being offered by the city, some of the abandoned housing in town will be sold at cut rate prices, as stated above, some will go for as low as a dollar.

"Seriously, you can get a property for a buck. Now, there are some strings attached. You have to be able to show financial capacity and wherewithal to rehabilitate the property," Trenton Housing Director Monique King-Viehland said.

And you have to promise to live there for 10 years. A 5 year tax break is also being offered to entice buyers.

"To bring families in to help rebuild dilapidated homes in our community, to not only strengthen one home and put it back on tax rolls, but strengthen the community," Mayor Eric Jacksons said.

The city's housing director says she's had inquiries locally and from as far away as Detroit and Washington state.

Residents support the idea if it'll mean cleaning up the eyesores and the blight.

"It becomes a neighborhood again. Now it's like a desert, you know? Like every other house is abandoned," George Bradley of the Bellevue Area Civic Association said.

"It's a good idea cause then more people could own a home and the neighborhood won't look so bad," resident Latisha Barber said.

Housing officials hope to attract urban homesteaders who want to live in the city and be a part of turning Trenton around.
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