June 30, 2005
HUD HELPS ONE BROCKTON FAMILY ACHIEVE AMERICAN DREAM
Family moves from public assistance to homeownership
BROCKTON, MA - A Brockton mother and her three teenage children are proud owners of a new home thanks to
the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a local program in Brockton designed to produce affordable housing while helping train at-risk young people in the building trades. HUD and local officials gathered today to welcome Maribel Arce and her family into their new home, which was constructed through the YouthBuild program
YouthBuild Brockton, funded by HUD and administered by the Old Colony YMCA, is part of a nationwide network of
200 programs that aim to give young people ages 16-24 who never finished high school a second chance to receive their diplomas. The funding helps train the youth for a future in construction trades while producing or rehabilitating homes for lower-income families. The newly built or renovated homes are then sold at affordable prices to low-
income individuals or families.
"HUD is very committed to helping young people gain the skills they need to be competitive in today's job market
and providing families with opportunities to become new homeowners," said James Barnes, HUD acting regional director. "I wish Maribel and her family all the best as they join a record number of families who are discovering
the American Dream for themselves."
Ms. Arce had been a resident of the Brockton Housing Authority since 1995. Prior to being offered the opportunity
to purchase the YouthBuild home on Laureston Street, she enrolled in the HUD-funded Family Self Sufficiency
program through the Brockton Housing Authority, where she developed a savings plan while maintaining her personal budget. Ms. Arce also completed first-time homeownership classes offered by ACORN Housing Corporation, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
Through the Family Self Sufficiency Program, the Brockton Housing Authority assists residents in job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement programs. Participants in the job preparedness program
sign a contract that stipulates the head of the household will get a job and the family will become self-sufficient within five years. As a family's income rises, a third of that income goes to an interest-bearing escrow account.
If a family fulfills the contract, they can use the escrow account for down payment on a home purchase, starting
a business, paying back debts and paying educational expenses.
"YouthBuild has three stories," said Richard Sergi, execitive director of the Brockton Housing Authority. "First is the intergovernmental and interagencies story in which the federal, state, and local governments, the Old Colony YMCA and the Brockton Housing Authority work together to make the program a reality. The second is the story of the young men and women who built the home, went to school, improved their lives and performed community service. Third is the story of the Arce family who worked hard, followed a plan, and went from subsidized housing to homeownership. The Brockton Housing Authority is very proud of its role in all of these stories."
Since 2001, HUD has awarded a total of $2.6 million to the Old Colony YMCA/YouthBuild Brockton, which has one
of the most successful programs, serving 40 youths per year with academics, construction training, advocacy and counseling. The house on Laureston Street is YouthBuild Brockton's fifth housing construction project.
The program is well supported by the public and private sectors in the city of Brockton. The Mayor and City Council transfer vacant city-owned lots to the Brockton Housing Authority, which then obtains construction financing
through a local bank. The YouthBuild staff works closely with the Housing Authority, supervises the construction
site, and constructs the house. The Housing Authority then sells the house to a low-income first-time homeowner who is chosen by lottery and is a successful participant in the Family Self Sufficiency Program. Ms. Arce was able
to purchase her new home for $182,500.
"When young people build something like the house on Laureston Street, and take the initiative to improve their
lives, everyone wins," said John Bengel, executive director of YouthBuild Brockton. "We particularly enjoy building affordable housing to make homeownership a reality for families like the Arces."
The ceremony was held in recognition of National Homeownership Month - a month-long educational outreach effort designed to provide important information and financial tools to potential homebuyers.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.