HUD helps North Carolina family climb a mountain

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Standing in front of her new mountainside home in western North Carolina, Patricia Bledsoe can see the houses in the valley where she delivers newspapers. Often, she tossed a paper into the driveway of a house she wished she owned. Other times she admired a well-landscaped lawn. How wonderful it would be, she thought, to have a house for her three children. But, she concluded, homeownership was for others, not for her.

[Photo: Presenting keys to the new homeowners]
Presenting keys to the new homeowners.

Patricia had tried many times to purchase a house. Though her credit was decent, she was told a traditional mortgage loan was unaffordable. Yet, the same motivation that caused her to get up at 3:30AM every morning to begin her paper route, kept her in pursuit of her dream - the American dream - a home for her and her children!

Then the break she needed came her way.

A friend told her about a new development called The Oaks, a joint venture of the Northwest Regional Housing Authority and partners such as the Methodist Church. Working with HUD through the Section 8 Housing Choice Homeownership Voucher Program, and USDA Rural Development, this new subdivision offered special financial packages to assist homebuyers with reduced mortgages. Closing costs options were available. Most of the homes are priced under $150,000, with a third of that price being deferred or cancelled. And thanks to energy-efficient features, these homes would be cheaper to heat and cool.

At a recent celebration of the development's accomplishments, an elated Patricia Bledsoe stood in front of housing officials, Congressional staff members, and well-wishers, thanking everyone who had a part in this effort.

Also at the ceremony was HUD North Carolina Field Office Director Edward Ellis, who publicly congratulated Patricia Bledsoe, and the other families who now benefit � directly or indirectly � from HUD's involvement. Ellis said the benefits from Ms. Bledsoe's accomplishment are precisely what the Bush Administration anticipated. Noting that President Bush declared June as Homeownership Month, Ellis said, "Sure, there's a financial benefit to our community that comes from those who now own their homes. More importantly, though, these new residents will bring pride and stability to their families. And that's the greatest benefit to our community."

Bledsoe, a single parent, told Ellis that having a home gave her "the heart to work harder." "It's exciting," she said. "This program saved us. I thank God for giving me the strength and health to work."

It's been a long hill to climb. But now the newspaper is delivered to a box in front of a mountainside house with Patricia Bledsoe's name on it. And she wouldn't trade the view for anything.

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