HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Long Island is getting a big boost to help the housing market.

On Thursday, governments received an additional $5 million to buy and rehabilitate vacant, foreclosed homes and fight off neighborhood blight.

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Tom Perretta and other neighbors called police on the squatters next door.

“They found six people living up in the attack, so if we weren’t vigilant, the house really would have been destroyed,” Perretta said.

The village of Hempstead discovered, once again, an unscrupulous absentee landlord and added another foreclosed home to its books. Boarded-up and vacant houses have been used as dumping grounds since the subprime crisis hit.

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“At the last listing, Hempstead had over 200 foreclosed homes,” Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall said. “That is about the highest on Long Island.”

The mayor said foreclosed filings were posted on one out every 75 Hempstead households during the first six months of the year. The village and Nassau County sought emergency help from the federal government, and when the Housing and Urban Development grant came through, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy helped bring it to Parsons Drive.

“They had squatters here. The building was all shuttered up, and it takes it off the tax roll,” Congresswoman McCarthy said. “So here, this brings property prices up, stabilizes the neighborhood.”

A Glen Cove builder rescued the home, replacing windows, adding hardwood floors, renovating the kitchen and more. A grateful family is about to close on the house and, remarkably and seemingly overnight, two adjacent properties were reappraised from about $169,000 to over $300,000.

So far, $25 million has been earmarked for Long Island municipalities and nonprofits, which are expected to turn 100 foreclosures into affordable homes over the next three years.

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HUD aid is determined by formulas based on factors like subprime loans, foreclosures and the jobless rate. Another round of grants is scheduled to come early next year.