GARY | In unveiling the city’s updated Dollar Home Program on Monday, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson recalled buying a $1 home 25 years ago through Gary’s original HUD-sponsored housing conservation program.
“I ended up being able purchase a home in the 800 block of Filmore. I lived in that house for 12 years,” said the mayor. “My ability to buy that home for $1 had an overwhelming impact on my decision to remain in Gary and to be involved in the community.”
In all, 13 houses the city bought through tax sales in the University Park community will be offered in the Dollar Home Program launch, Freeman-Wilson said. This area near Indiana University Northwest has been designated a redevelopment area by the city’s administration.
“This is just the beginning,” she said. “(The program) will spread throughout the city.”
All the homes need some rehabilitation to be brought up to city codes, said Arlene Colvin, community development director. She noted it is a city program, not a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored program.
To be considered eligible, applicants must be at least 18 years old, a Gary resident for at least six months, not currently own a home, meet 80 percent of the area’s median income based on HUD standards, have at least $1,000 in a savings account and be able to demonstrate the financial ability to rehabilitate a home.
The minimum income standards for one person range from $35,000 to $50,000. For a family of two, those income standards are $40,000 to $50,000. The minimum income standards for a family of three begin at $45,300, Colvin said.
Application packets will be available at the community development office, 839 Broadway, Suite 302, beginning Friday. Residents must pick up the packets and return them completed with required documents to the office by July 12. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Each of the 13 homes will be awarded by drawing to an eligible participant for $1 under the condition the home is brought up to city building codes within six months and the program participant resides in the home for five years.
Once the home is brought up to code, the participant will be provided with a special warranty deed. At the end of five years, all ownership paperwork will be given to the participant.
Those who complete the application packet and are deemed eligible for the Dollar Home Program will be given a random number and be entered into the drawing, said Colvin. Participants are to indicate three home preferences.
All eligible participants must attend an open house to inspect the properties, she said.
A list of code deficiencies and the anticipated cost of those repairs will be available for all the homes. No back taxes will be owed, Colvin said. Information about each house will include anticipated future property taxes.
Call (219) 881-5075 with questions. Information will be available Tuesday online at www.gary.in.us.