Saginaw group wants banks held accountable for foreclosures

Community activists, residents and city workers gather outside of an abandoned home on Tuesday.

City workers and community activists gathered outside an abandoned home in Saginaw Tuesday morning, in an effort to shed light on the city's foreclosure epidemic.

The group wants the city to adopt a foreclosure maintenance policy, which would hold banks that own foreclosed properties accountable if those properties become an eysore.

"There is no easy solution to fix this. It will take a very concerted effort of everyone to hold people accountable for their actions, for maintaining their property," said Saginaw Chief Inspector John Stemple.

Saginaw currently has close to 1,000 abandoned properties and foreclosed homes. More than half of them are owned by banks.

"Not a facade, not a game playing process. Be very transparent with the homeowners and lets save these homes," said Grady Holmes Jr., lead organizer of the Ezekiel Project, a community group hoping to cut down on urban blight in Saginaw.

States like Illinois and New York already have foreclosure maintenance ordinances in place, which fine banks if they do not maintain bank-owned properties.

The group also expressed concern over the number of arsons in Saginaw.

The city currently does not have a fire chief, a set-up that will likely remain in place for the next several months.