4 East Texas families to receive new home in the new year

By Sara Story - bio | email

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - It's out with the old and in with the new, a brand new home, to be specific. The city of Jacksonville is just one Texas city that's received grant money through the HOME program, and they are using the money to tear down four homes and completely rebuild them for families in need.

"Most of these houses are borderline, and they are close to being a dilapidated structure and falling in completely," The City of Jacksonville building official Jody Watson said.

Watson said the four houses in Jacksonville are being built thanks to the HOME Owner-Occupied Housing Assistance Grant. Jacksonville received more than $400,000 and will put up their own money to knock down and rebuild worn-out homes.

"The purpose of it is to improve the housing, the quality of life for the person living there. It takes a sub-income house and builds it into a really nice house," Watson said.

Annie Blanton's home was built with money from the grant five years ago. Her previous home was more than 100 years old, and it was passed down from generation to generation.

"In one of my rooms, it didn't even have a ceiling in it. It had fell completely out. One day, I was sitting here and said, 'Lord, what am I going to do? I don't have any money to fix this house, and thank God, this opportunity came through," Blanton said.

Blanton met the strict federal requirements. She had a clear title on the home, was current on her taxes and met the low-income level.

"I don't have to freeze in the winter time, and I don't have to burn up in the summer," Blanton said.

Blanton said she's thankful and excited to see this program help re-build her community. Cities are allowed to apply for this grant each year. The City of Jacksonville said they will notify residents if they receive money for 2011, and there will be an open enrollment period when people can apply.

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