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HUD Programs Help Maine Resident
Achieve American Dream

While Saving Historic Home!

[Photo 1:  Margaret Widmer, Governor Baldacci and Taylor Caswell in front of home]
Proud Homeowner Margaret Widmer is welcomed to her home by Governor John Baldacci (right) and HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell.

[Photo 2:  Margaret Widmer's new home]
This historic home was saved from demolition and sold as an affordable housing unit to a low-income homebuyer.

Margaret Widmer, who grew up in Brunswick and has lived in Portland for eight years, always dreamed of owning her own home but thought that she would never be able to afford one. Then she came across a unique project in the Bayside area of Portland that caught her interest.

The Bayside Neighborhood Association saved a historic house, which was built in the year 1857, from demolition by moving it to a vacant lot on Myrtle Street and renovating it as an affordable housing project. The house was moved when a condo development was planned in its original location.

HUD's programs played a key role in making the project a success. The City of Portland gave the Bayside Neighborhood Association a $200,000 loan through HUD's HOME program to purchase the lot and renovate the house. The City also used HUD Lead Hazard Control program funds to de-lead the house. The local YouthBuild program helped with the renovations.

Ms. Widmer was chosen by a housing lottery in April. She purchased the six-room house after going through homeownership training at Maine HomeWorks, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Ms. Widmer received a loan through the City of Portland's HomePort program, which was established with funding received through HUD's HOME program. The loan does not need to be paid back until she sells the house. Ms. Widmer also acquired a 30-year mortgage through the Maine State Housing Authority.

On June 22, Governor John Baldacci, Portland Mayor James Cohen, and HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell congratulated the homeowner for her purchase, and celebrated what can be accomplished with partnerships.

The majority of the renovations on the house were completed through the local YouthBuild program. Funded by HUD and administered by Portland West, the program offers job training and leadership skills to unemployed and undereducated people ages 16-24 who work toward their GED while learning construction skills by building or renovating affordable housing for low-income and homeless individuals. Since the program's inception, Portland West has received more than $5.2 million in HUD funding to educate and train more than 700 at-risk youth.

Content Archived: March 21, 2011

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
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