Rochester buying, fixing vacant homes
Rochester, N.Y. – Having a home of her own was Sholonda Bradley’s long term goal. “I’m excited, this has been my dream to buy a home,” Bradley said. That dream is now becoming a reality with the help of the city of Rochester, the Rochester Housing Development fund and other community partnerships. Bradley was able to buy her nearly 2,000 square foot home in an area she’s grown to love. “I grew up in the 19th ward. It’s always been my home. I lived out in Chili for about 15 years but I’ve always been drawn to this area,” said Bradley. It’s for people like Bradley, programs like HOME Rochester exists, providing opportunities for first time homebuyers. “It means safer neighborhoods for us to have this vacant home re-occupied by a family, is something we are aspired to do and bring to more city residents,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said. The program received a $15 million loan to buy and renovate 70 vacant homes in the city. That breaks down to about $214,000 per home. Bradley’s home cost about $200,000 to fix up, while other homes may cost less. “Each house has a different price depending on what has to be done to the home. This one was occupied by somebody who had a hoarding problem, so there was extensive cleanout and then there was removal of asbestos and removal of lead and then the renovations,” said Jean Lowe, who is President of the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership. “When these homes were built, they were built with a lot of environmental material that’s just unsafe anymore,” said Mayor Warren. “A lot of them were built with lead, asbestos and other things, to remove those products from the home; it cost a lot of money.” The program is designed to make the homes move-in ready for the families. Bradley plans to close on her new home this summer. “The first thing I plan to do is have a big barbeque in that big back yard,” said Bradley. The construction costs are paid back through the mortgage and subsidies. Homeowners who buy a house under the program must live in the home for 15 years. If they move before that, they either have to pay back the subsidies or sell it to another qualified buyer in the program. The loan allows the HOME Rochester program to continue for three more years.
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