The City of Brazil is expanding its beautification efforts.
Recently, the City of Brazil closed on the purchase of two area homes through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Dollar Homes initiative.
"After homes are acquired by the Federal Housing Authority (which is part of HUD) following foreclosure, they are put on the market and if they are not sold within six months, they are offered to local governments at the nominal cost of $1," Brazil Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens said about the purchase of residences at 704 N. Forest Ave. and 104 N. Alabama St. "The Brazil Housing Authority let us know about the program because they were not interested in having any additional homes at this time."
Gibbens added the homes are only made available to local governments for a 10-day period, so the city had to move quickly on them.
"This can be very beneficial to both the city and the county because it allows us to expand our residential beautification efforts alongside the Neighborhood Stabilization Program we are also currently working with," she said. "By being able to sell the homes to responsible individuals or families, we can get the properties back on the tax roll."
She explained the money to purchase each of the homes was taken out of the delinquent taxes, which were prorated.
However, the city still has work to do on the homes before selling them.
"We are using the Unsafe Building Fund to pay the delinquent taxes and make some repairs," Gibbens said. "The repairs made by the city will be to bring them into compliance with the building and fire codes."
Brazil Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Raymond Staub -- who assisted Brazil City Firefighter/Building Inspector Troy McQueen in reviewing code violations -- said there are some minor problems which need to be fixed.
"The home on Forest Avenue has sump pump issues and some termite damage, while the one on Alabama has a couple leaks, a furnace that is not working and mold in the garage, which is unattached," Staub said. "However, the houses themselves are still on level foundations, so they are very sellable fixer-upper homes."
Staub told The Brazil Times McQueen would have to make sure the homes are up to code before being sold to potential homeowners.
Gibbens said the city has been working with a HUD broker out of Chicago, the purchases were closed Jan. 4, and deeds have already been received.
"After the homes are brought up to code, we will have them appraised before putting them out to bid," she said. "The bid process will be similar to how homes are normally purchased, except the bids will be sealed."
She added houses included in the Dollar Homes initiative are typically sold to a low- to moderate-income buyer, and by participating in the program, the city will be able to continue residential rehabilitation in the city.
"It is also a good way to build up the Unsafe Building Fund because there is not much in it at this time and the entire amount a home sells for goes directly back to the fund," Gibbens said. "Not only will it allow us to purchase other homes in the program to rehabilitate, but also provide the funding necessary to demolish homes that can not be repaired, which will also improve the look of the city."
For questions about the HUD Dollar Homes initiative, or to express interest in purchasing one of the homes from the city in the future, contact the Brazil City Planning Office at 446-0050.