published on April 25, 2016 - 12:44 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin today announced a $200,000 HOME funds grant award to Habitat for Humanity Fresno County to construct two infill homes for local families.

At a press conference held on South Lotus Avenue at one of the property sites Monday morning, Bank of America officials also presented a $20,000 check to help finance the balance of the construction cost for one of the homes.

The two families selected — Malee Srisaard, Ba Xiong and their six children and Yang Vue, her two children and her brother — were surprised to learn at the press conference that they will be the recipients of the two homes.

The federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program provides formula grants to states and localities that cities like Fresno use — often in partnership with local nonprofit groups like Habitat for Humanity — to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying and rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership.

HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

Today’s HOME funds award requires Habitat for Humanity Fresno County to utilize its “sweat equity” building method, which asks each household member to contribute at least 500 “sweat equity” hours to help build their house.  

The City is providing $200,000 in HOME funds at 2 percent interest, with the interest converting to zero percent upon conveyance of the loan portions to the homebuyers. 

The first house, to be located at 2541 S. Lotus Avenue, will sit on a 4,500 square foot parcel and be constructed as a 1,100-square-foot house with four bedrooms and two baths.

The second house will be located at 325 N. Effie Street on a 6,000-square-foot parcel. It will be 1,250 square feet and include three bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

Once the houses are constructed, Habitat will transfer ownership of each parcel through escrow to the recipients.  It is estimated that the $200,000 in loan funds will be proportionally conveyed and provided to the homebuyers as a second mortgage. 

Upon transfer of the property to the homebuyer through escrow, the City will forgive $10,000 on each of the two $100,000 second position loans to make the houses more affordable for the low-income homebuyers. 

The total estimated cost of the project is $422,739.

“This innovative public-private collaboration has major implications for our residents, our neighborhoods and our city,” said Mayor Swearengin. “It will help the City of Fresno move even closer to our goal of providing opportunity for infill development and neighborhood revitalization, and even more important, it will give these families a fresh start in life as they raise their children in safe, affordable housing.”

Other recent Habitat HOME-funded projects in Fresno include: Laval/Belgravia, nine single-family homes currently under construction; Garrett Street, two single-family homes completed; Echo Street, two single-family homes completed; and South Clara Estates, nine single-family homes completed.

In addition to the mayor, District 3 Councilmember Oliver Baines also spoke at the press conference, which was attended by Habitat for Humanity Fresno County’s Executive Director Matthew Grundy and Bank of America executives Mark Riley and Ron Sturzenegger.

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