Friday, August 10, 2001
Buyers had ears to ground
Word of mouth pushed homestead program
By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Jerry Douglas discovered the homesteading program through his cousin. Vanessa Holt was told by a friend.
It seems most participants learn of Cincinnati's homesteading program through word of mouth.
Mr. Douglas and Ms. Holt were among eight city residents awarded fix-up homes this week for $1 each. They must live in the house for at least three years and pay thousands for needed repairs.
The program is a unique chance for city residents to acquire their first home, said Mr. Douglas.
This is great, Mr. Douglas said of his new Avondale home near the Cincinnati Zoo. Now I have a lot of work ahead.
The Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corp. is a city-funded non-profit corporation that mainly buys repossessed or abandoned homes in Cincinnati and awards them to city residents.
Created by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1976, the program has helped rehabilitate about 600 Cincinnati homes in 25 years. HUD discontinued funding it in 1992, but Cincinnati has kept it alive, kicking in $1 million a year.
What we do is buy the dogs around the neighborhood and try to bring life back to them, said Herman Bowling, who administers the program.
The program is available to city residents earning $35,000 or less or to families of four earning $48,400 or less. They must pay a $5 application fee, complete a class on home ownership and have a good credit history.
Participants bid on homes they want, and the properties are awarded through a lottery held twice a year. The next lottery will be spring 2002.
Participants are allowed to inspect the homes they bid on and are told how much repairs will likely cost. Repairs typically run $60,000 to $80,000.
Past lotteries have attracted 50 to 75 people vying for 10 to 15 homes, but this week's lottery attracted about 25 people for 12 homes.
Homesteading has declined in popularity over the years as banks have offered more loan programs for first-time buyers, Mr. Bowling said.
Participants say homesteading is the only way they could afford a home.
For more information about the Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corp., call 352-1949.
400 more youths in jobs since mid-July
Pools profit from heat
Teen tells of street shootout
Buyers had ears to ground
Teens lend helping hand
Rally opposes Byrd's death
Rumble strips put on I-75
Seafood fest opens
Some locals back policy; others critical
Tristate A.M. Report
Dog dies; other animals ruin apartment
Get a taste of Fairfield police beat
Social service cuts considered
Court: Slurs did not void union vote
Ohio counties face huge chore to return child-support money
Ohioans can help redraw election boundaries
School van law ensnared in red tape fight
Ailing workers' benefits received
Boone Co. celebrates with flair
Craven property search legal
Florence man indicted following U.S. 42 death
Goofy expired before his term
I-71 all clear for Speedway
Ludlow chief resigns
Police investigating death of woman, 20