Gary, Indiana has had a lot of troubles over the years. A prosperous steel town in the 1960s,when it was home to the Jackson 5, its population has plummeted by half since then, and unemployment rates have risen. One of its many problems is a high percentage of homes that are vacant; no one is maintaining them which poses problems for neighbourhoods, and in addition there is no one to pay property taxes, which decreases Gary’s revenue.
In order to combat this problem, the mayor of Gary, Karen Freeman-Wilson, has proposed a very unique solution: taking those abandoned properties, that now belong to the city, and putting them in a lottery.
In order to be eligible, residents must meet income requirements (starting at annual salaries of $35,250 US for one person), must demonstrate the financial ability to bring the property up to code within six months of ownership, and must live in the home for at least five years before they will receive full ownership of the house. Anyone who qualifies can enter the lottery at a cost of $1; the first houses will be given away before the end of the summer.