Great Falls Tribune (Montana; IDAs)
By: Travis Coleman
February 27, 2010
Myrtle Quincy finally has a home of her own to raise her two children, thanks to NeighborWorks Great Falls and the new Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Quincy's new three-bedroom home in the Morningside neighborhood was revamped and sold using federal stimulus funding acquired by the city of Great Falls and NeighborWorks.
The stabilization project was a response by Congress to the national foreclosure crisis, which left neighborhoods with many unoccupied homes.
Quincy moved into the home late last month, and on Friday NeighborWorks celebrated the completion of the first stabilization project home built in Montana. NeighborWorks helps families with lower incomes become homeowners. Quincy's home was recently appraised at $400,000, she said.
"NeighborWorks and Habitat for Humanity have proven that low-income families can be successful homeowners if they receive the right education and down-payment assistance," said Al Henry, NeighborWorks operations director. "We are delighted to be able to help even more families become homeowners this year ¿ our 30th anniversary."
Congress routed federal funding to the state for the project. The city of Great Falls was the first group to apply and be approved for the project, and the city named NeighborWorks as the subrecipient for the funding.
NeighborWorks used the funds to purchase and renovate 10 homes under the program. Work is continuing on six properties. In addition to providing housing, the project creates jobs and puts construction workers back to work, officials said.
The project is good news for Quincy, who has wanted to be a homeowner for many years, but said her income was not enough to support a mortgage payment until the project funding became available. A single mother with two children, she has rented for years.
"I looked into NeighborWorks programs, went to homebuyer education, then started saving my down payment through the Individual Development Account. Now my kids have a brand new house. This is a dream come true for us," Quincy said.
Families interested in purchasing stabilization project or other NeighborWorks homes should contact the agency at 761-5867. All purchasers must complete homebuyer education classes and home ownership planning education, which includes individual meetings to assess the buyer's readiness for homeownership.
Assistance for purchasing homes is available in the form of deferred mortgages with equity share. The loans require no payments and accrue no interest until the home is sold or the first mortgage is paid off.
Chris Imhoff, Community Development Block Grant administrator for the city, said the project is a great example of the public-private partnership the city of Great Falls and NeighborWorks have enjoyed for 30 years.
"(The project) is putting local contractors to work and adding sales to local suppliers, so it is an example of stimulus funding at work," Imhoff said.