HUD Archives: News Releases

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


ROCHESTER, NEW YORK – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $1 million in HUD Neighborhood Initiative funds to the City of Rochester’s innovative Home Ownership Improvement Program to help even more low- and moderate-income families purchase and rehabilitate homes.

Though the nation’s 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 City’s 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.Rochester’s 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 HUD’s Officer/Teacher Next Door programs. About a third of the homes have been scheduled for demolition and a number reserved for other programs.Today’s 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 City’s 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 City’s 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.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009