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Marshall County Commission Endorses Homebuyer Program

Interest in a first-time homebuyers program is picking up, according to Northern Panhandle HOME Consortium officials.

During a recent meeting, Vickie Battista and Jennifer Kordack, representatives from the Benwood-McMechen Housing Authority, sought to reaffirm Marshall County commissioners’ annual pledge of support for the program, which provides financial support for low-income residents seeking to buy their first home.

In February 2015, Battista had said the program’s participation was declining due to a number of factors, including a shortage of reasonably priced housing and lack of awareness of the program, among others, causing participation in the program to drop to single digits.

However, Kordack told commissioners that their office had helped several new people in recent months.

“I came on in August, and since then, I’ve done six (families) in six months,” Kordack said. “I think it’s going well. … We’ve had a lot of requests for information to be mailed out, and coming by to pick it up, so people seem to know about us, but maybe not as much as in years past.”

The First Time Homebuyer program offers financial assistance of up to $10,000 for families or individuals which meet criteria including income, being pre-qualified for a mortgage and completion of a housing counseling course. After five years, the $10,000 loan is forgiven if property taxes are paid, the property is kept up to code and homeowner’s insurance is kept on the house.

According to county Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel, only two homes in the past 16 years had failed to keep up on these requirements.

Battista and Kordack did not seek financial assistance from the commission, only that the commissioners support their efforts. Commissioner Stan Stewart thanked them for their work in assisting the county’s residents.

“We appreciate what you do. It’s a shame we can’t have more people qualify for this,” Stewart said.

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