Tyler Resident Gets Keys to Reconstructed Home
Lorine Johnson received the keys to her new home at 304 Boon Avenue in Tyler in November, thanks to the city’s Owner-Occupied Reconstruction Program.
“I am so happy; I can just pinch myself to make sure this is really happening,” Johnson said. “It’s all so surreal to be able to move into a new home that I previously had only dreamt about.”
Due to the poor structural condition and the extensive repair needs, the Johnson home was determined by staff of the city’s Neighborhood Services Department as unfeasible for rehabilitation, but was instead eligible for replacement.
The old existing house was demolished and then reconstructed under Tyler’s Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Assistance Program with federal funds provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“We are very proud and excited to hand Lorine the keys to her new home,” Tyler City Councilman Darryl Bowdre said. “This program enables eligible homeowners to enjoy a house that was built to meet their housing needs.”
Johnson’s home is one of many that the City has constructed since the beginning of the program in 2006.
“The Reconstruction Program is an essential part of the City’s overall approach to revitalizing neighborhoods,” Brenda Johnson, director of the Neighborhood Services Department, stated. “It not only directly helps the family that owns the new home, but improves the surrounding neighborhood by removing a substandard structure and replacing it. We expect that the city’s efforts to improve these neighborhoods will result in new and additional private investments in these areas.”
Rehabilitation or reconstruction assistance is available for low-income homeowners who have annual incomes that meet certain income limits set by HUD. To be eligible, a citizen must also own or be purchasing their home, live in a “target area” that is designated annually by the city council, be current on their property taxes and have homeowner’s insurance.
The funds provide assistance to bring existing substandard residential properties into compliance with current local housing and building codes. If the house is determined to be beyond repair, then the existing home is demolished and replaced with a newly constructed home that provides safety, comfort and security, while being modest and attractive in appearance.
Minor repair assistance is another program provided to homeowners residing in structures judged by city staff to be detrimental to the health and safety of the homeowner/occupant and sometimes requiring immediate attention. The sole intent of the funds is to eliminate hazardous situations and code violations. Minor repair assistance is available citywide to eligible low-income homeowners.
Funds can also be used to conduct improvements designed to remove architectural barriers that restrict the mobility and accessibility of elderly or disabled persons in owner-occupied dwellings. The intent of these funds is to provide essential home modifications that increase accessibility, safety and security as needed to maintain independence.
To find out more about Tyler’s Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation program, contact the Neighborhood Services Department’s Office of Community Development at 903.531.1303, or visit the Neighborhood Services website at CityofTyler.org and click on the City Department tab and access the Neighborhood Services Department.