We’re building up our community one house at a time.
Price Hill Will’s Homesteading Program began in the fall of 2015. This program works hard to provide access to homeownership for families and individuals who would not have the opportunity otherwise. The success is due to our partnerships with several social service agencies: LISC of Greater Cincinnati/NKY, SC Ministry Foundation, Legal Aid Southwestern Ohio, Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, Working in Neighborhoods, Santa Maria Community Services, and the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (land bank). Currently, two families are involved in the program, and two more houses should be occupied soon. According to Jay Kratz, the Director of Real Estate Development at Price Hill Will, two houses have been prepared for homesteading families. “So far no major rehab has been necessary. The homesteading families do the cosmetic fixes to the home and perform routine maintenance tasks,” explains Kratz. When asked what makes this program so unique, Kratz responds, “The Homesteading program aims to save and stabilize homes and place them with owners (as opposed to renters) who cannot obtain conventional financing due to lack of credit history, immigration status, or other issues. The candidates are carefully screened and trained for homeownership.”
Here is the breakdown of the Homesteading Program Process:
- The home is identified, donated, or purchased for a minimal price from the Hamilton County Land Bank or an existing owner. The house is acquired as inexpensively as possible. Homes should be in one or two targeted areas that have the most potential for improvement. They should be properties that are strategic to a corner or block, and they must be able to be rehabbed within the organization’s cost limits.
- The house is then brought up to code compliance and occupancy standards through all necessary repairs.
- Families and potential applicants are screened for home improvement skills. The family is put on a waiting list until a home is available that fits their needs and family size.
- A match is made – Yay!
- In order to overcome challenges with financial stability and/or ability to meet financial obligations, Santa Maria Community Services performs a general assessment of the property. After this, the potential homebuyers meet with Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) to complete a budget assessment, financial management training, and homeownership classes.
- Next, the new owners meet with the real estate development staff here at Price Hill Will to discuss expectations about future repairs and maintenance needed.
- A contract that lists further home improvements and requirements is signed.
- PHW holds the title to the home while the new homeowner repays the cost with monthly payments over five years. No interest is charged, but interest is offset in the sale price if PHW should have to borrow initial funds. Payments including taxes and insurance are no more than 25% of monthly income.
- Homeowners are responsible for all repairs, upgrades, and maintenance of the home. The contract signed allows PHW to inspect the home periodically to ensure compliance.
- To ensure success, Santa Maria or Catholic Charities continues financial case management and is available to mediate if a problem arises.
Through this program, not only are families getting the chance to become home owners, renovate their house, take pride in their work, and become integrated into the community, but this also allows the overall neighborhood housing values to rise by demonstrating what can be done with the properties. The nightmares of renting or paying for an overpriced home or dealing with a predatory landlord are over. Instead, we want you to instill pride in your new property and feel a sense of belonging in the community. A recent home owner shows her pride in her house by painting the interior, cleaning up the yard, planting flowers and vegetables, and stabilizing the foundation. A little care can go a long way. This is a step which makes our neighborhoods more beautiful and proves that we can turn our properties into homes we are both grateful and proud of.
Contact Jay Kratz, Director of Real Estate Development, today and start your homeowner search!
(513) 251-3800 x 102