State allocates $44 million to help mitigate foreclosures
2009/03/31, 2:20 pm
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CHARLESTON — More than $44 million has been awarded to communities and organizations across the state to buy foreclosed homes to sell or rent at affordable prices.

The top three awards include $7.4 million for the Lowcountry Housing Trust, representing Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties; $5 million for the city of Greenville; and $4.28 million for the Catawba Regional Council of Government, representing Lancaster County.

The money comes through the federal government’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which is meant to prevent blight and declines in home values in neighborhoods with clusters of foreclosed homes.

At the same time, the program increases the inventory of affordable homes for those people earning 120% of area median income, said Tammie Hoy, director of the Lowcountry Housing Trust, which received the largest chunk of the state’s NSP funding.

The S.C. State Housing, Finance and Development Authority announced the awards last week and the money likely will flow to local housing officials by the summer, Hoy said.

Hoy estimates that the money will allow local housing officials to purchase about 100 homes now owned by banks. The $7.4 million will also cover the cost of any needed repairs to the homes, which might have been vacant for months. In addition, the money can provide homebuyers with assistance in making a down payment.

By April 15, her organization and its partners must submit to state housing officials the homes they intend to purchase. The trust’s original application sought nearly $20 million for the three counties, so local officials must pare down the list of homes they plan to buy.

Hoy emphasized that the money isn’t meant for isolated foreclosures. The federal program targets clusters of foreclosures or likely foreclosures that could bring down neighborhood values.

Hoy said the money could end up going further than the estimated 100 homes. When housing officials sell a home they have purchased, sales proceeds will be available for additional investments.

The money comes through the federal government’s Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This year’s federal stimulus plan includes $2 billion for the program, but details on applying for those dollars are not expected until May, Hoy said.

The homes would be available to people earning up to 120% of area median income. Based on 2008 data, individuals earning up to $49,000 and families of four earning up to $79,000 would qualify, though Hoy said the program might use updated 2009 income data.

Communities and organizations receiving awards: Allocation:
Lowcountry Housing Trust  (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties) $7,409,679
City of Greenville $5,000,000
Catawba Regional Council of Government (Lancaster County) $4,283,000
City of Columbia $3,900,000
Beaufort Housing Authority $2,943,000
Housing Authority of Myrtle Beach $2,500,000
Greenville County $2,260,000
Richland County $2,220,000
City of Anderson $2,173,087
City of Spartanburg $2,000,000
Sumter Housing Authority $1,700,000
Community Assistance Provider (Lexington County) $1,500,000
Santee-Lynches Affordable Housing CDC (Orangeburg County) $1,293,612
TN Development Corp. $1,038,350
SC Assoc. of Community Development Corp. $1,000,000
City of Florence $1,000,000
Community Development & Improvement Corp.  (Aiken and Darlington counties) $1,000,000
Companion Associates (Pickens) $700,000
Pickens County Habitat for Humanity $225,000
Source: S.C. State Housing, Finance and Development Authority
Published March 31, 2009

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