Fresno rehabs old houses to save neighborhoods

FRESNO, Calif.

"The amount that we purchased it for we would have had to at least double that if we were to fix it up ourselves. It was a really great deal." Said Nate.

The home is in the area known as the Lowell Neighborhood not far from downtown.

"Many people think that it's odd that we live in this part of town. Many people ask if we have a big fence around our house or what we do to keep bad people out. What I have to say is you just have to learn to open up and know your neighbors." Said Esther.

Critics say the program is not cost effective. It usually costs more to buy and rehab the homes than they will sell for. The Redevelopment Agency says the average loss per home is about $30,000 But Claudia Cazares of the City's Housing Office says the city feels the investment will pay off.

"We do know there is a lot of investment that will be left in these homes and we're willing to do that to stabilize our neighborhoods and put a good family into these homes." Cazares said.

There are income limits on buyers, and they must have a 3% down payment and qualify for their own first mortgage. But once they do, Debbie Barletta of the Redevelopment Agency says there's a generous incentive. .

"Where the assistance comes in is the second trustees loan. These are, I can't say this enough. These are zero percent interest no payment for 30 years. So, it's really free money for a family coming in." Barletta said.

The Redevelopment Agency has received additional federal funding, and is recycling money from the sale of houses to buy more homes, and help more families. The homes are all listed with local real estate agents.

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