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Former Foreclosed Houses Take Their First Owners

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Three families are scheduled to move to former foreclosed houses in Menlo Park, California. In preparation for the transfer of 44-year-old Tracie VanHook and her two teenage sons, volunteers helped install hammer boards, a dish washer and other last minute finishing touches on the three-bedroom house at Belle Haven neighborhood.

The volunteers are part of the joint program between Menlo Park city and the Greater San Francisco chapter of the Habitat for Humanity. Under the program, city and Habitat provided almost half a million each to fix foreclosed houses in Belle Haven.

Volunteers participating in the program donated their time to repair and prepare the foreclosure houses for families who are lucky to be the first recipients of the low-income housing program. Families who are eligible for the program are required to donate at least 500 hours of work, called sweat equity. In exchange, they will receive an interest-free mortgage with no down payment on properties.

The program has helped revitalize abandoned or deteriorating buildings and gave opportunity to many low income families to become homeowners. Organizers said that many families under the program do not expect that their dream of owning a home would become a reality.

According to organizers, the program is geared towards rebuilding communities badly hit by the foreclosure crisis. They added that it is about bringing back families into communities and giving them the opportunity to grow their roots.

Industry experts said that the best part of the program is the sweat equity because it allows everyone to be part of something that could bring significant changes not only on the lives of families but also on neighborhoods.

City council member Andrew Cohen first suggested to the Habitat for Humanity to form a partnership to fix foreclosure properties in neighborhoods to prevent them from becoming blights. Cohen said that the city is committed on fighting the foreclosure problem that it has made three separate proposals to address the issue.

One of the proposed programs is to help troubled homeowners remain in their houses by preventing evictions and foreclosures.

Meanwhile, many project volunteers said that the economy has also wreaked havoc on their lives, finding themselves with reduced work options, thus more time on their hands. They said that they have decided to join the project of fixing foreclosed houses in order to learn important skills.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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