The auction of hundreds of Kansas City homes that was to take place this weekend was canceled by the lender, Wells Fargo Bank. According to a Wells Fargo spokesperson, quoted by Jen Strathman of KSHB:
Wells Fargo has canceled the auction of 250 houses in Kansas City. We are committed to working with Mayor Mark Funkhouser, the city,and community organizations--including Habitat for Humanity--to find a solution that encourages local ownership and builds sustainable neighborhoods for the residents of Kansas City.
A visit to the auctioneer Hudson&Marshall's web site finds this message under Kansas City: "This auction has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances."
In a press release yesterday the mayor responded:
Mayor Mark Funkhouser today said Wells Fargo & Co. has responded to community concerns about this weekend’s large auction of foreclosed Kansas City houses, and will postpone the sale.
“I’m glad they were listening,” Mayor Funkhouser said. “I’m thrilled Wells Fargo will take some extra time and work with the community. It’s the right thing to do.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Funkhouser and neighborhood and community development activists held a press conference asking Kansas Citians to take part in the auction. Too often, large real estate auctions are dominated by out-of-town investors and real estate speculators who do little to fix up the houses they buy, often leaving them vacant and in disrepair while they wait for the housing market to rebound, the Mayor said.
“The city looks forward to working with Wells Fargo to make sure these Kansas City homes go to Kansas Citians,” Mayor Funkhouser said.
Also in the mayor's press release he quoted Craig Colbert of Habitat for Humanity:
“Habitat for Humanity Kansas City is proud to have played some small part in helping the Mayor realize his goal of making sure that these foreclosed properties are kept in community hands,” Colbert said. “It is beyond our wildest expectations that Wells would postpone the auction based on our communication with our contacts at the bank about the Mayor’s Wednesday press conference.”So...the auction is on hold for now. This is remarkable considering this auction was in the works for a long time. We'll have to wait and see what impact it has on the housing situation in the city. The biggest problem is for some of these homes they are in rough shape, and in rough neighborhoods. It's going to take some unique local people to take up this gauntlet and go to war with some of the forces at work here.
Seems to me there might be an opportunity for the churches of Kansas City...he who has ears to hear, let him hear...