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Grants will aid home buyers

February 10, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

More low- and moderate-income Washington Township area residents will join the ranks of homeowners soon, thanks to a $550,000 grant secured by State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin.

The money will provide buyers a $16,000 down payment to help secure a mortgage for one of 16 townhouses to be built in the Sheffield Manor development.

The homes cost $90,000, said Doris Thrailkill, executive secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Coalition for Housing Opportunities Inc. of Waynesboro, the agency that sells the homes. Each down payment, half of which is forgiven after 10 years, cuts the $90,000 cost of the home to $74,000 to be repaid over 30 years.

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The owners can sell their homes at any time, but if they sell before 10 years they have to repay the down payment on a pro-rated basis, Thrailkill said.

Federal mortgage subsidies are available to buyers, she said.

The Franklin County Commissioners have partnered with the coalition since 1996 on the construction of 40 townhouses on Kings Road and 10 Piccadilly Circle, said Jo Willard, housing counselor for the coalition.

The 16 townhomes will be built on Piccadilly Circle.

"The program is geared to giving someone a chance to own a home who otherwise could not raise the down payment," Thrailkill said. "It gives them a chance to build up equity. Most of the people who buy here find that their mortgage is lower than what they have been paying for rent."

Many are single parents or young families starting out, she said.

The coalition also helps potential buyers with poor credit work out their problems.

"We've only had one foreclosure so far," Thrailkill said.

The federal program provides local governments with loan and technical assistance to expand the supply of decent and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income Pennsylvanians, Punt said.

For more information, call 1-717-762-9139 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or 1-717-762-9050 on evenings and weekends.

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