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Plan to rehab properties makes sense; why aren’t feds on board?

When Diane Limas talks, I listen, and I’d always advise others to do the same.

Limas, 70, is the volunteer president of Communities United, which used to be known as the Albany Park Neighborhood Council until the group did so many good works that one neighborhood couldn’t hold it.

I listen to Limas because she is an absolute salt-of-the-earth neighborhood type with a fiercely honed sense of right and wrong when it comes to matters of social justice, not to mention a very effective organizer.

And right now, Limas and her fellow citizen “leaders” in Communities United believe they have identified an important issue that, if it isn’t an injustice, is definitely an opportunity for better justice that is slipping away.

Communities United wants Federal Housing Finance Administration Director Mel Watt to listen to its proposal to partner with a non-profit developer to rehab some Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreclosed properties on its turf to keep the rents affordable.

In the meantime, the group wants Watt to declare a moratorium on the sale of foreclosed properties in five Northwest Side Zip codes — 60618, 60625, 60630, 60645 and 60659 — until it has had an opportunity to negotiate the purchase of 20 residential buildings it has identified for a pilot project.