According to a report from Chicago's General Accounting Office (GAO), the 2010 vacancy rate was at 11.6 percent of the city's housing stock, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Furthermore, approximately one in 10 houses is currently vacant, while the number of foreclosed homes that went to public auction last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2009 to 10,569, according to data from the Woodstock Institute. What's more, Matthew Scire, director of financial markets and community investment for the GAO, told the news source that city officials spent $875,000 to board up 627 properties last year. In response to these harrowing statistics, nonprofits have begun to rent out foreclosed properties, with incentives to potential buyers. For example, neighborhood revitalization organization Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) lent $18 million for single-family home purchases of the properties. "This will be a new lending initiative, and we’re hoping to partner with … other organizations with expertise to help people do tenant screening, property management and other skills required of a landlord," Ed Jacob, executive director of NHS, told the media outlet. Elsewhere in the Midwest, foreclosed homes are being sold in Lafayette, Indiana, after being upgraded and refurbished by the Lafayette Redevelopment Corporation, WLFI-TV reports.