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Federal grant could mean more affordable housing

Posted February 4, 2009
Updated February 5, 2009

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— Prospective homebuyers in parts of the state could benefit from a federal foreclosure-assistance grant that allows counties to buy and refurbish houses and resell them.

Local governments in 23 North Carolina counties that face high foreclosure rates are eligible for part of the $52.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The state Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance will decide how to distribute the grant money.

Wake and Vance counties are among those that have applied for funding.

Counties must apply for the grant and contract with a nonprofit group to buy foreclosed homes from lenders, fix them up and put them back on the market at an affordable price.

"It gives low- and moderate-income families a chance to become homeowners where they might not have had that otherwise, while we're helping to again revitalize neighborhoods," said Annemarie Maiorano, housing program manager for Wake County.

Wake County has asked for $5 million in grant funding, and Vance County has asked for $3.7 million.

"We don't want to be forgotten in the rural counties, either," said Vance County Planning Services Manager Jordan McMillen.

Vance's goal is to refurbish run-down properties and sell them cheap.

"It gives us the opportunity to clean up the county while also assisting those with lower incomes," McMillen said.

Prospective homebuyers, like Dontiez Lee, have been watching real estate prices fall and looking for deals. He says he is eager about the possibility of a more affordable home.

"This is something very positive," Lee said. "I believe that this program will help a lot of families, and it will really help the (housing) market."

19 Comments

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  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Feb 5, 2009

    let's just quit this silly game.....EVERYONE should just be given a house. Government sponsored....that way, no one would be homeless. If we did that, and made healthcare free to everyone, then we would get rid of all the problems we have in this country!

  • -Enter Screen Name- Feb 5, 2009

    @bella28: ..."there are also foreclosed homes that are 300k, 400k, 500k and so forth. Where they low income also?"

    Possibly (though not all). And that's why we're in this mess. I bought my house 6 years ago, when all these sub-prime loans were starting up. My salary was under $60k. Admittedly, not poverty level income, though a salary a dual-income family should easily have.

    I could have EASILY qualified for a $300k home. But I new the difference between what the bank said I could afford and what I knew I could afford. Instead, I opted for one I could afford, with a $100k mortgage.

    My only positive regret (does that make sense?) was that I bought a fixer-upper. Over the past 6 years I have spent about $35-40k in repairs and updates. Regret - I could have gotten a much bigger house with the money I've invested so far. Positives: (1) I know a lot more about houses; (2) Realtor says I should be able to get $60k in equity when it sells.

  • BELLA28 Feb 5, 2009

    RKBA - although I see where you are going, let's not forget that the problem was not all caused by "low income" people who couldnt afford it. As I recall, there are also foreclosed homes that are 300k, 400k, 500k and so forth. Where they low income also?

    I'm tired of the handouts! And guess what? I am considered low-income!! But I live within my means. I pay my bills, even if I live paycheck to paycheck. Was it always like this? Of course not. I was marriend once, I made good money once. But people have to learn to adapt, learn what common sense is and learn to be responsible. You make do with what you have! Enough already!

  • jgirl5830 Feb 5, 2009

    Isn't this how the economy got into the mess we're in right now? So let me get this straight, people who couldn't afford a house in the first place and should never have been given a loan were foreclosed on and kicked out, only to use taxpayer money to put more low income people who really can't afford the house and it's upkeep back into the same homes? I'm i reading this right? This is insanity!!!

  • Sidekick Feb 5, 2009

    Create new slums.

  • whiffleball Feb 5, 2009

    So they want to repeat an earlier error? Why push homeownership onto people who cannot afford to maintain the property? One doesn't just live in a house and spend nothing to keep it in good condition.

  • are you kidding me Feb 4, 2009

    People, someone is being robbed for this money, someone like a taxpayer hardworking US taxpaying citizen, in order to grant to a sorry I will not work six days a week, 10 hours a citizen so that they can have a home. Stop the insanity!

  • superman Feb 4, 2009

    I wish they would do something to make automobiles more affordable. That along with doing something about high cost of food. High cost of health insurance and on an on! They seem to have forgotten that every person over the age of 12 needs a cell phone.

  • Run_Forrest_Run Feb 4, 2009

    "It gives low- and moderate-income families a chance to become homeowners, where they might not have had that otherwise, while we're helping to again revitalize neighborhoods......

    Oh dear Jesus in heaven. The Gov't is not going to be happy until all the low income are in free houses they 'own' and the middle working class is on the street.

    I'm sick of our twisted sick excuse of a Gov't.

  • readme Feb 4, 2009

    Can the government PLEASE stay out of the housing market!!!! Hello, this kind if idoitic intervention is what gets us into messes like we are in now. Why can't a poor person rent...??? I rent!! What is so wrong about that? The government is just artificially beefing up the housing market again. They keep going with those pyramid schemes and houses of cards. I say get rid of the HUD and its grants. If renovating and flipping a particular foreclosed house made good sense, then a private investor would be doing it already!! Maybe that house needs to sit there for a while vacant and be resold at a more reasonable price so this market can reach the bottom and start growing again based on real fundamentals and economic good sense.

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