|HUD No. 00-339|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||December 1, 2000|
CUOMO AWARDS $1 MILLION TO BOOST HOMEOWNERSHIP IN ROCHESTER
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $1 million in HUD Neighborhood Initiative funds to the City of Rochesters innovative Home Ownership Improvement Program to help even more low- and moderate-income families purchase and rehabilitate homes.
Though the nations homeownership rate
has reached a record 67.7 percent, Cuomo noted at a press conference attended
by Mayor William Johnson that the rate in Rochester is just 44 percent.
However, the Mayor reported today that a City-HUD initiative launched in
May in 11 Rochester Zip Code areas already has resulted in the sale of more
than 100 HUD homes, the vast majority of them to owner-occupants. To date,
71 percent of the homes sold in the Rochester-HUD program have gone to owner-occupants.
"As the Secretary of Homeownership, I
am always excited to partner with local governments that place a premium
on increasing home ownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families,"
Cuomo said. "Homeownership is the surest way to build strong neighborhoods
and strong cities. In Rochester, there simply is no question that both
the public and private sectors are fully committed to devising creative
and cost-effective ways to give all of its citizens a chance to own a piece
of the American dream.""This new and innovative partnership
with the Federal government to manage and sell HUD-owned properties has
been of great benefit to the City of Rochester. We are very pleased with
the results of the first few months of this program," Johnson said.
"This program has given City officials
the necessary control and flexibility needed to sell more HUD homes faster
and to owner occupants. It has allowed us to strengthen our relationship
with the private sector real estate community as well as bring us closer
to achieving our Housing Policy of providing affordable homes to city residents.""I am pleased that the Federal government
can help Rochester families realize the American dream of homeownership
while reducing the number of eyesore buildings in the city neighborhoods.
Not only will this funding increase homeownership, but it can also be used
to help eliminate the silent scourge of lead poisoning." Congresswoman
Louise Slaughter said. "Lead exposure is robbing too many Rochester
children of their best and brightest future. I am committed to working
with City officials to remove lead from local homes and build a healthier
community."Earlier this year, HUD approved the Citys
application to establish one of the first Asset Control Areas (ACA) in the
nation. Under the ACA program, the City purchases all the foreclosed houses
in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured inventory in the designated
area to rehabilitate and, ultimately, resell them. HUD sells each FHA home in the ACA to the
City at significantly reduced prices, with discounts ranging from 30 to
50 percent of the appraised value, depending on the condition of the property
and the required repairs.Within the ACA, the City buys all of the FHA
inventory of foreclosed homes, rehabilitates the homes and sells them to
new homeowners. Any excess proceeds generated through the sales are reinvested
back into the ACA program in other forms, including municipal improvements.Rochesters ACA covers Zip Code areas
14605, 14606, 14607, 14608, 14609, 14611, 14613, 14615, 14619, 14620 and
14621. The 11 Zip Code areas comprise more than half the land area of the
City.Since the launch of the ACA in May, the City
has taken possession of 309 properties and sold 106 homes under the program,
71 percent of them to owner-occupants. Another 13 homes have been sold under
HUDs Officer/Teacher Next Door programs. About a third of the homes
have been scheduled for demolition and a number reserved for other programs.Todays Neighborhood Improvement grant
will enable the City to provide property improvement grants to new homeowners
for lead-based paint abatement. The City already has committed some $4
million in HUD Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds to help
income-eligible homebuyers with closing costs of up to $3,000 and repairs
of up to $15,000 per home.
With the second oldest housing stock among cities of more than 200,000 people, Rochester has many homes in which lead was used as a construction material. Because of health risks, there now are strictly enforced prohibitions against the use of lead in home construction.Under the Rochester-HUD ACA program, income-eligible homebuyers who receive help with closing or repair costs are required to complete a series of classes in budgeting, simple home repairs, hiring contractors and homeownership responsibilities that are offered by the Citys award-winning Home Store that was opened eight years ago. Among those who have completed Home Store classes, the foreclosure rate is less than 2 percent, half the foreclosure rate for all of Monroe County.
To obtain financial assistance from the Citys
program, a family of four can have an annual income of no more than $41,900
and must agree to live in the home for at least five years.