Chesterton Tribune



Gary hopes $1 home sale program helps improve city

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GARY, Ind. (AP) - With the Friday application deadline approaching for a chance to snag a house for a dollar, city officials hope they receive enough applicants who are financially able to renovate the dozen well-worn properties in the University Park area near Indiana University Northwest.

Community Development Department Director Arlene Colvin said about 300 applications have been distributed for the homes included in the program unveiled in May.

I think people are hungry to purchase properties and they also thought they were getting a good deal for the money, she told the Post-Tribune.

The dollar home program has captured the attention of the news media, spreading the word on Chicago news shows and in local newspapers.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is a big supporter of the dollar home program and is hoping it will help turn around her housing-ravaged city. Freeman-Wilson bought her first home in the 800 block of Fillmore in a similar dollar home program about 25 years ago.

This time, the homes are owned by the city and are in need of major work. A home in the 3500 block of Lincoln Street had a tarp covering its roof on Wednesday, weeds in its gutters, siding peeling off and an overgrown lawn.

The new homeowners must bring the property up to city code within six months, pay its taxes and insure it.

Applicants must be Gary residents, and not homeowners. They must have $1,000 in savings, meet 80 percent of area median income standards and agree to live in the home.

A single prospective homeowner should have an income of $35,250 to qualify. Two people would need an income of $40,350.

Colvin said Community Development workers will visit the properties to make sure the requirements are met.

Applications must be submitted to the Community Development Department, 839 Broadway, by Friday.

Colvin said once her staff begins sifting through the applications, many wont have met the requirements. Each eligible applicant will select three homes and Colvin said the city will hold a lottery in early September to determine the winners. After the drawing, the new homeowners can take possession of their house.



Posted 7/11/2013