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September 3rd, 2009 - Pamela A. Grady

Oklahoma City group begins foreclosed home renovation project

Neighborhood Housing Services of Oklahoma City was recently granted more than $5.2 million to purchase foreclosed properties.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Oklahoma City was recently granted more than $5.2 million to purchase foreclosed properties.

The properties can either be renovated and sold to low to moderate income families or sold to other nonprofit organizations for the same purpose.

The funds come from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which was established to stabilize communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. Part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the program provided grants to all states and selected local governments.

The money will allow Neighborhood Housing Services to purchase approximately 45 foreclosed homes within Oklahoma City limits.

The program's first home is a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home at 3448 NW 20.

David Ash, director of housing development for Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma City Inc. said first, the home's mechanical system will be upgraded to today's codes and standards to assist in making the home structurally sound. Then cosmetic aspects to the home will be incorporated to make the home appealing and family friendly.

"We're going to make sure that the home meets what the buyers want to see today," Ash said.

All homes will be equipped with energy efficient appliances and updated landscaping design throughout the property, Ash said, and depending on the shape of foreclosed homes purchased, most homes could take as long as 60 to 90 days to renovate.

Roland Chupik, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Oklahoma City said the program will help maintain property values and help stabilize Oklahoma City neighborhoods.

"This is a federal effort. These are HUD dollars coming through the Stimulus Act of 2008 and through our partnership with the city of Oklahoma City to help buy these foreclosed homes," Chupik said. "It helps to fix community breakdown caused by vacant properties and helps increase the supply of affordable housing."

The first $2.5 million must be targeted for resale to people who make 50 percent or less of Oklahoma County's median household income; $20,500 for an individual or $29,250 for a family of four. Down payment assistance of up to $6,000 is available for those who qualify.

Neighborhood Housing Services has until August 31, 2010 to spend the funds. Any funds received from selling a rehabilitated property will be returned to the City for future reuse.

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