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Database To Help Smithtown Rehab Zombie Homes

Don Ryan

New York State grants are enabling public safety officials in Smithtown, Long Island, to monitor the town for properties on the verge of foreclosure. They are now prepared to fix up these "zombie homes" instead of demolishing them.

The database currently lists more than 2,000 homes on the verge of foreclosure. It makes property ownership records available to town departments, villages and fire departments and helps investigators identify at-risk properties and counsel homeowners on mortgage assistance.

To date, officials have restored and resold more than 30 homes. They plan to complete the database by this summer.

Meanwhile, the town has over 300 legal actions pending to force banks to handle the maintenance of vacant properties.