Westmoreland Community Action developed the Neighborhood Revitalization Program to acquire and rehabilitate older housing stock to rebuild distressed neighborhoods and to expand the availability of safe, decent and affordable housing through the agency’s Homebuyer Resource Center.
Westmoreland Community Action (WCA) established the Neighborhood Revitalization Program to rebuild distressed neighborhoods by acquiring and rehabilitating deteriorated housing. Neighborhood Revitalization is part of the agency’s Homeownership Program, which is also comprised of the Homebuyer Resource Center.
The strategy for Neighborhood Revitalization is to purchase as many homes as possible on a block-by-block basis to overhaul dilapidated housing conditions and create a positive environment for homeowners and their families. In some instances, condemned properties have been acquired and homes beyond repair have been demolished to enable construction of new homes.
Once properties are acquired, WCA serves as the developer for rehabilitation and new construction. Lead abatement is a part of renovation work that involves particular attention. The agency adds a 15% developer’s fee to each project to support operational costs.
One-on-one pre-purchase counseling occurs to assess the needs of participants through a review of their credit history, debt to income ratio, adequacy and stability of income, and downpayment/closing cost resources. Long-term pre-purchase counseling is provided through case management services for those individuals whose housing problems and needs cannot be resolved in 30 days.
Low- to moderate-income families are able to purchase the finished homes following completion of a four hour Homebuyer Education Class. 44% of persons served are under 50% of the area median income. Many have poor credit and/or excessive long-term debt; therefore, three 2-hour session Credit Enhancement workshops are also provided.
WCA is a HUD-certified housing counseling agency. This designation qualifies the agency for HUD Super NOFA funding. The Federal Home Loan Bank has been also been a resource used to assist homebuyers with up to $6,000 toward downpayment and closing costs.
WCA's website includes detailed information on the results of neighborhood revitalization efforts in Monessen, Jeannette, New Kensington, and Latrobe/Derry.
WCA has acquired and will construct 25 contiguous homes in a 2-block area of the City of Jeannette. This previously was an area with high crime and drug activity requiring a great deal of police presence. Criminal activity has been dramatically reduced since the revitalization work has started.
As of January 2009, 390 participants of the Homebuyer Resource Center have become homeowners.
Jack Brown, Director of Community Services
724.834.1260 ext. 151