Grant to help housing market

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County government could help the housing market through a U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant.

Commissioners agreed Tuesday to apply for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to allow the county to buy, repair and resell foreclosed homes. Based on Gwinnett's high rate of foreclosures, the county is expected to receive $10.5 million, according to a press release.

In July, Congress authorized $3.92 billion for the program in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.

"Clearly, the intent is to put this money to work in communities with the highest need and to have a meaningful impact," HUD Secretary Steve Preston said when the program was announced. "Now the real work begins and HUD stands ready to support these states and communities as they work to stabilize their neighborhoods."

Local officials expect the money to be available in February.

According to the county's application, officials will distribute the money to for-profit and nonprofit organizations, selected through a competitive bidding process, to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed, single-family houses in designated areas.

While the money can't be used to prevent foreclosures, the homes will be available to eligible home buyers who qualify for a principal mortgage and may get assistance with a down payment or secondary mortgage.

For more information, contact the county's Community Development Program at 770-822-5190.