Homeownership program expands

March 01, 1997


Staff Writer

A local program to increase homeownership in the West End is planning to expand its reach, the program's executive director said this week.

Hagerstown Neighborhood Housing Services' board of directors is expected to decide by early summer whether the program will expand within the West End or open an office in another neighborhood, said Executive Director Teresa Hartle.

Program officials decided to expand because the 451 Salem Ave. office is attracting applicants from throughout the city, Hartle said.

One of the 17 new homeowners the program has helped since it began in January 1995 was from Frederick, she said.


The program helps low- to moderate-income families who could not get conventional loans become homeowners. A $600,000 loan pool used for participants to obtain low-interest loans with no down payments is financed by six local banks, she said.

Farmers & Merchants Bank and Trust, Hagerstown Trust, Home Federal Savings, Washington County National, Chevy Chase and Harris Savings banks all contribute $100,000 each, Hartle said.

Because the program has been so successful, the banks have had to replenish the pool over the years, she said.

The West End neighborhood was selected to start the program because of the low percentage of owner-occupied homes.

But, more than half of the 17 new homeowners the program has helped came from outside the West End, Hartle said.

Right now, only homes within the area bordered by Burhans Boulevard, Mitchell Avenue, West Side Avenue and Elgin Boulevard are covered in the program, she said.

Either those boundaries will be expanded or the program will open an office in another neighborhood with low homeownership, Hartle said.

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