Activists wait to bid on sheriff’s sale properties, return them

    Hundreds of homes will go up for auction Tuesday morning as Philadelphia’s moratorium on sales of foreclosed residential properties comes to a halt.

    But housing activists were lining up as bidders.

    Early Monday evening, a group of people put down mattresses, blankets and pillows along the sidewalk at 38th and Market streets. They say they want to be the first in line at Philadelphia’s sheriff sales.

    Housing activist Cheri Honkala says they plan to bid a penny on each foreclosed home. If that succeeds, they would give the deeds back to current homeowners.

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    “You know with all this talk of people not being sure of who actually owns all these properties, people not access to any of these programs that were supposed to be set up as a result of the bailout money, we’re just saying this has got to stop,” said Honkala. “And we’re gonna buy these properties and give them back to the families.”

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development released money last week for a stalled loan program aimed at helping distressed homeowners. Housing advocates have criticized the program for its poor implementation and delays. Republicans say the program is a waste of money and have tried to kill it in Congress.

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