|HUD No. 06-081
July 14, 2006
HUD SECRETARY, CONGRESSMAN SODREL VISIT FIRST-TIME HOMEOWNERS IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
Sears family utilizes critical HUD and local programs to purchase first home
BLOOMINGTON - Emphasizing the benefits of homeownership, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and Congressman Mike Sodrel (IN-9) today visited a family in Bloomington's Near Westside Neighborhood who used critical HUD local resources to purchase their first home.
Secretary Jackson and Congressman Sodrel visited the home of Lori and Donald Sears, who purchased their first home with the help of federal and local agencies, including HUD, Fannie Mae, Bloomington's Housing Development Department, and the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP). Lori and Donald are both disabled and live on a limited income.
"Today, Lori and Donald Sears are joining the ranks of the more than 75 million Americans who own their own homes," said Secretary Jackson, who was also joined today by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan. "Homeownership is empowering people all across America, including here in Indiana. Families like the Searses are utilizing critical HUD and local programs to purchase their first home and build equity to save for the future."
While living in a subsidized apartment, the Searses did not know if they could ever afford their own home. Refusing to give up, Lori began researching affordable housing at her local library and attended the Home Buyers Club class at Bloomington's Housing and Neighborhood Development Department. In her search, Lori learned about some of HUD's home buying programs, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership (HCVH) program. When they purchased their home in April 2005, the Searses were one of the first families to utilize the program. Today, an estimated 130 Indiana families have purchased a home under the HCVH. Another 240 families are in the program and on their way to owning a home.
HCVH is the federal government's major program for assisting low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to obtain affordable housing by providing rent subsidy. The residents pay the difference between the actual rent and the amount given by the program. Under certain circumstances, like with the Searses, the family may use its voucher to purchase a home. The program also teaches Section 8 applicants about budgeting and homeowner responsibilities.
The Searses are now proud owners of a new home, custom built to meet their physical needs. It includes an open floor plan, low kitchen counters and a step-in shower. In addition, the home is a certified 5-star, Energy Star House. This energy efficient feature will save around 20 to 30 percent on the couple's energy bills.
"We have the American Dream," said Lori Sears. "Our home is model for what can be, thanks to a little help from the government. Even if we won the lottery, we'd never leave this house. We love our home."
In addition to utilizing the HVCH program, Bloomington's Housing Development Department offered the Searses' downpayment assistance. They received help from the Bloomington Housing Authority's Family Self Sufficiency program, which offers homeownership counseling, and from the SCCAP, who built the home. The SCCAP also assists with utilities and weatherizing homes for low-income households.
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, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.