Donate a House

You may be able to help Santa land a big item on many families' Christmas lists. A Birmingham housing agency is asking property owners to think about becoming some of Santa's biggest elves this year by donating old or abandoned homes.

To some, it seems everywhere you look in Birmingham you find "For Sale" signs waiting for buyers. But waiting too long can cost an arm and a leg, especially for a property inherited or that needs major work.

"They're just kind of holding onto them," said John Colon of Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham. "Every year they have to pay taxes, they have to maintain those homes, and oftentimes they become vandalized, and the expense of maintaining those homes is more than anyone would like to maintain."

That's where Colon and NHSB are hoping to step in and provide not only relief from tax bills, but a home for families who may have put up a for sale sign because they were being foreclosed.

"We're not talking about what most people would consider homeless people living in the streets," Colon says. "We're talking about families, children who have nowhere to go, parents who have nowhere to go because they've been laid off from their job or foreclosed upon."

Colon says there are benefits beyond the satisfaction of doing good at Christmastime.

"The benefit is they don't have to worry about those added expenses," Colon says. "We have received some offers. We have an 8-unit apartment building we're looking at. And if we can get that rehabilitated, we're gonna offer that to families in need."

If you're thinking about making a donation but have questions, Colon encourages you to consult a financial professional or you can call his office at 328-4292.