YOUNGSTOWN Agency to sell homes to help neighborhood

The agency is bringing new houses and homeowners into the deteriorating neighborhood.
YOUNGSTOWN -- None of the four streets in the six-block stretch looks dramatically different.
The South Side neighborhood is made up of mostly old, deteriorating single- and two-story homes between Glenwood Avenue and Hillman Street.
Some are shabbier than others. Paint is peeling, porch railings are rusting, gutters are falling off. A few are boarded up. The neighborhood encompassing Earle, Chicago, St. Louis and Sherwood avenues is dotted with now-vacant lots where homes of old stood.
It's from here that new houses and homeowners will spring.
Jubilee Urban Renewal Corp. has a ceremony Sunday marking the start of building 10 homes, but under a different arrangement than in the past.
Five houses will be rented under the usual setup to low- and moderate-income families who have the option to buy after 15 years.
The other five, however, will be sold to families with higher incomes looking for new, affordable housing in the city, said Star Dominick, the nonprofit agency's director.
The agency has built about 120 homes on the South and East Sides and rented them in recent years. The sale of tax credits that come from the federal government, city money and state aid all finance the construction.
A first: Selling houses, however, is a first for Jubilee.
Demand leads the agency to follow the new path, Dominick said. Jubilee has a waiting list of people who were interested in new rental homes the agency built, but had incomes that were too high, she said.
Another nonprofit homebuilder, CHOICE, also will soon start putting up or renovating houses on the South Side that it will sell, rather than rent.
Jubilee's homebuyer program will work the same way, with government subsidies making the new construction affordable. A family will need to support a mortgage of about $556 a month to buy a Jubilee home, Dominick said.
Jubilee's five new market-rate houses won't be the end.
"It's something we expect to continue," she said. "I believe we have the families to fill them."
Each market-rate home will be built next to a new rental. That will give the renter some stability, she said. The hope is that the new houses will lead other homeowners to fix up their properties and stem the neighborhood deterioration, Dominick said.

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