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Published: Friday, 10/22/2004

HUD program helps put Toledo family in a home

Michael Liu, an assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, presents a book to Marjorie Glass outside her new home at 896 Yondota St. in East Toledo. Michael Liu, an assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, presents a book to Marjorie Glass outside her new home at 896 Yondota St. in East Toledo.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

Marjorie Glass says she never thought she could afford to buy a house. But because of the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership program, she recently built one in East Toledo.

Ms. Glass, a mother of two receiving disability payments, said she started to believe her dream would come true when she heard about the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority.

"I was tired of paying rent, but I knew I couldn't buy a home because I had low income," said Ms. Glass, 47, a Mississippi native who moved to Toledo 30 years ago.

The voucher homeownership program was started by HUD in 2001 to help families who are receiving Section 8 funding to make the transition from renting a house to owning one.

Section 8 is a federal government program under which private landlords are paid a portion of the rent to subsidize low-income tenants.

In Lucas County, some 30 families so far have made the transition from Section 8 housing to owning their homes, according to LMHA officials.

"The Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority is exemplary in its implementation of a program that truly changes lives," Michael Liu, a HUD assistant secretary, said yesterday while standing outside Ms. Glass' home.

He was in Toledo to present Lawrence Gaster, the executive director of LMHA, a certificate of appreciation and a $23,000 check, which he said was an incentive to aid the public housing authority help more families realize the dream of home ownership.

"Right now, the Lucas program is in the top three. Within a year, it may be the No. 1 public housing authority in Ohio helping people own homes," Mr. Liu said.

Since the voucher program's inception, more than 2,200 low-income families have gone from renting to owning and more than 350 housing authorities now administer the program nationally.

New homeowners pay 30 percent of their income toward their monthly mortgage. To qualify, families must have sufficient savings to cover at least 1 percent of the housing cost as down payment and closing costs, said Matthew Sutter, LMHA's manager of development programs. Applicants also must have an annual household income of at least $10,300.

"We are seeing people who didn't grow up in homeowner households moving into a situation where they can own a decent home," Mr. Sutter said.

"I really did it," said Ms. Glass, as she gave the visitors a guided tour of her new three bedroom, two-car garage home.



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