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Low-Income Households Get a Shot at Homeownership

Low-income households in Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Georgia, and Washington now have a chance to achieve their dream of homeownership through a $10 million grant in "sweat equity" by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The grant, which is a part of HUD's Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities Program (SHOP) will support four non-profit self-help organizations that enable homeownership for low-income families and individuals. HUD said that these grants along with the labor contributed by the homebuyers and volunteers in the form of sweat equity will significantly lower the cost of homeownership for these families and individuals.

“Advancing economic opportunity for low-income families is a top priority of mine at HUD, and one that the department is carrying out through terrific programs like SHOP,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “These grants, along with the support of our partners, will enable homeownership opportunities for hundreds of deserving families.”

Under this program, homebuyers contribute significant sweat equity toward the development of their units. They also have the option of contributing sweat equity towards the units of other homebuyers participating in the local self-help housing programs.

These sweat equity contributions reduce the purchase price of the SHOP units and make these homes affordable for low-income homebuyers. A minimum of 100 sweat equity hours is required from a household of two or more persons while an individual must contribute a minimum of 50 sweat equity hours. HUD also requires community participation consisting of volunteer labor contributions under this program. Sweat equity and volunteer labor may include but are not limited to, landscaping, foundation work, painting, carpentry, trim work, drywall, roofing and siding for the house.

The organizations which have received the $10 million grant include Housing Assistance Council, Washington, D.C., Community Frameworks in Spokane, Washington, Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation in Anthony, New Mexico, and Habitat for Humanity International, Americus, in Georgia.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.

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