Natchez Good Neighbor Program acquires first house

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2001

In a program new to Natchez and in existence a year nationwide, the first single-family house has been acquired and will be offered at low cost to an eligible family.

James Johnston, city director of community development, said the house at 577 Old Highway 84 No. 3 will be offered for sale through local realtors or private bid and will be an affordable home for first-time home owners.

&uot;We’ve commissioned an appraisal in anticipation of the sale, but we expect it will go in the lower $20,000 range,&uot; Johnston said.

The three-bedroom, one-bath house was purchased by the city for $1 from the Federal Housing Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the Good Neighbor program, established in May 2000.

The program allows local governments to buy single-family homes acquired in foreclosure actions by the FHA and put them to good use at considerable savings to the buyer.

&uot;This provides a good opportunity to the first-time buyer,&uot; Johnston said.

Proceeds from the sale will be used as matching funds for such city projects as recreation and other community development projects.

&uot;This program will help the city and also assist low- to moderate-income people in the community,&uot; Johnston said.

In addition to falling into the low- to medium-income bracket for Adams County as established by HUD for 2001, the buyer also must be a first-time home buyer who has not owned a home for the past three years.

To determine income eligibility, the buyer must total the amount of income for every person who will live in the residence, Johnston said. &uot;This includes and is not limited to salaries, wages, tips, Social Security, pensions, annuities, dividends, taxable interest income and IRA distribution.&uot;

Ranges of eligible incomes start at $12,550 for one person and go to a maximum of $35,600 for a family of seven people.

Qualified buyers may submit a bid or have a realtor submit a bid on the house and attach to the bid a filled-out eligibility form.

The forms and additional information on the program are available at the mayor’s office at City Hall.

Bids on the house will be accepted sometime in July after the aldermen meet and finalize approval of the sale. More information about procedure will be published then, he said.

The Natchez Good Neighbor Program is off to a good start with the one house offered for sale now, Johnston said. He hopes the program will grow.

&uot;It all depends on the availability of the houses,&uot; he said. &uot;I check the listings every Thursday to see what’s there.&uot;