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After 18 months of legal proceedings, Collingswood officials have begun tackling the problem of abandoned homes. Using the state’s Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Act, the township took control of blighted, abandoned properties with the intention of rehabbing the homes to sell to families who will live in them.

To complete the renovations, Collingswood is partnering with St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society, a Camden-based nonprofit that has already rehabbed nearly 1,000 properties. The first home Collingswood will rehabilitate is a three-bedroom bungalow that’s been deserted for eight years.

Several South Jersey communities have been plagued by abandoned homes since the recession, including Merchantville, Pennsauken and Gloucester City. Collingswood’s abandoned properties project will act like a revolving fund – as the first homes are rehabilitated and sold, Collingswood will use those profits to begin work on the next batch of homes.

Currently, Collingswood has about 40 target homes on its official list.

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