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HUD Regional Administrator Visits Schenectady

U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Lynne Patton was in Schenectady Thursday to celebrate HUD’s Homeownership Month.

Schenectady receives over a million dollars in HD funding annually. Patton was in the Electric City to get a firsthand look at work HUD has done there, in particular getting a family of four into their dream house.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
"The Joseph family’s new home will stabilize not only their lives, but serve as a vital building block toward stabilizing the entire community.” ~ Lynne Patton

"HUD has helped transform the dream of home ownership into reality for more than 46 million Americans, thanks to the Federal Housing Administration, FHA as some of you may know it. Today, an estimated 40 percent of first-time homeowners turn to FHA to make their own American dream a reality," said Patton as she stood on the front porch of 1055 Davis Terrace, a blue four-bedroom house with new homeowners Jackie and Tracey Joseph.   "The average homeowner has a personal net worth of nearly $200,000. Whereas the average renter has a personal net worth of only $5000, believe it or not. And in fact, despite overseeing the largest federal housing office in the entire country, I myself am not a homeowner. Like far too many New Yorkers, I'm still a renter. So I want to take this moment to personally congratulate the Josephs, because you are officially already on track to have a higher net worth value than I have."

Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County Executive Director Madelyn Thorne says it took many hands and the support HUD to get the Joseph family into their new home.   "Schenectady Habitat applied, successfully applied, for home funding through the city of Schenectady's development department and the city's leadership. That helped offset some of the construction costs. Using volunteer labor, that helped control the cost of construction. So there's a lot of entities pulling together. Our friends on the city council and in the mayor's office reviewed our request and signed off. And that is how the funding ultimately funded through HUD through the city to us."

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Tracey Joseph addresses the gathering outside his new HUD home.

HUD provided $60,000 to Schenectady Habitat, which worked with the Joseph family and secured additional resources for the house and to offset closing costs. The process was tedious, stressful and time-consuming. Tracey Joseph held back tears as he told those gathered it was worth the effort.     "My kids is the best. I would do it... I would do it again. Sometimes I don't even know if I'm going or I'm coming, but guess what. We're here and I'm proud of it."

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
www.hud.gov and https://espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Carson on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.

BONUS AUDIO: Bill Levering is President of the board of Schenectady County Habitat For Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity Schenectady works with potential homebuyers that meet HUD low-income requirements, provide two-year proof of income, take a Habitat homeowner education course and are willing to put sweat equity into their homes.

HUD celebrates Homeownership Monthin June to highlight the importance of homeownership. HUD supports homeownership through HUD-funded housing counseling agencies,  and through HUD’s Federal Housing Administration, or FHA; that provides mortgage insurance and makes home buying easier for low to moderate income homebuyers.

June is also HUD Healthy Homes Month. 

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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