August 14, 2010; Source: Times Herald | Once foreclosed and then abandoned, a number of houses are coming back to life as homes for people in Port Huron, Mich., including for those whose idea of owning property was only a dream. Thanks to a partnership between the city and local nonprofit groups, 10 houses that were purchased and rehabilitated will go on sale on Monday. These will be in addition to four already fixed up and sold since the program began last November.

So far, some 32 homes have been acquired through foreclosure auctions and paid for with a $1.1 million grant from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The city’s partners in the restoration effort are Blue Water Habitat for Humanity, Blue Water Residential Non-Profit Housing Corporation, the Community Action Agency of St. Clair County and the Port Huron Neighborhood Housing Corporation. Several of these groups have been similarly purchasing, rehabilitating homes, and reselling them for years, but on a smaller scale.

Money from the work has either come from grants to the city that they have passed on, or from other sources. To keep the current program running, proceeds from the sales of the homes goes back into a fund to finance future purchases and rehabilitation. The federal funds were restricted to neighborhoods where needs are the greatest. To qualify for a home purchase, single people must earn less than $58,600 a year. The income limits for couples with children range from between $75,480 to $90,480, depending on the size of their family. Kim Harmer, the city’s planning director, says the program not only benefits the new owners, but the neighborhoods which need people living in them to thrive.—Bruce Trachtenberg