As reported in March on IndianaUSDAMortgages.com; The mayor of Kokomo, Greg Goodnight, announced he wanted to pay people to move in and fix up vacant homes in an effort to eliminate eyesores and boost property values. He proposed the city dip into its economic development fund and set aside $100,000 to offer the grants. Those who buy and move into a targeted home would be eligible to apply for $5,000 to cover a portion of the improvement costs.
Goodnight said the pilot program would focus on 20 homes currently owned by the city. He used a home at 1721 W. Jefferson St. as an example. ”If something is not done with this home, it will become an eyesore. It becomes blight and it will decrease the property value of surrounding neighbors,” he said. “It needs a little TLC and that’s what we are looking for. Not to demolish or rebuild homes.”
Current Kokomo homeowners would not be eligible, although renters would be allowed to participate, as well as those looking to move into the city. ”If we don’t fix the residency issue and don’t have these houses on the tax rolls, we lose out,” Goodnight said.
A number of community groups met and provided input on the proposal before it was presented to the Kokomo City Council in mid-April.
Minister Ramon O’Glesby hopes the plan will stretch into all neighborhoods of the city. ”It gives people an incentive for the uplifting of the community,” he said.
Residents who live near abandoned properties are in favor of the program. ”That house, if the value increases on it, it will reflect on all of us and lead us to do some work as well,” said Scott McIlrath.
Homeowners would be required to stay in the home for at least five years.
Fast forward to Monday, May 9, 2011…
City loan will have maximum match of $5,000
Kokomo — With no discussion, the Kokomo Common Council unanimously approved a new program aimed at encouraging home ownership.
Members voted Monday to appropriate $100,000 in Economic Development Income Tax revenues for the Community Investment Home Ownership program.
The program would allow Howard County residents who haven’t owned property for the past two years, or individuals coming from another county to live in Kokomo, to obtain a five-year, zero-interest loan from the city to rehabilitate the exterior of any vacant residence.
City officials intend to offer the incentive as a 2-1 match, meaning the individual participating in the program would match the city’s every dollar with two of his or her own, with the maximum match from the city at $5,000.
To be eligible for the program, the residential property must have been vacant for at least 30 days.
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight unveiled the basic details of the program in March (as mentioned above), saying he wants to establish a matching fund to help prospective homeowners with exterior improvements.
KEN de la BASTIDE