HOME program puts families in houses

TRI-CITIES -- A Richland program has been putting families into new homes who otherwise couldn't afford them. It's called the Home Investment Partnership Program. It's responsible for building about one home a year for the last decade.

Ryan Brice didn't like living next door to an eye sore.

"When I first moved in, it was nothing but an empty lot. Then for a little while it was a hole in the ground," he says.

But the city of Richland stepped in and put a brand new house in place of the eyesore on Thayer.

"They built it really quickly and and it seemed like it was real efficient and then not too long afterwards, they had a real nice family in there," he added.

Known as the HOME program, it uses HUD money to rebuild old houses. The homes are then offered to needy families. They get help with lining up a mortgage.

"They make application to the city and then we provide them with funding to help them get into the house," says Michelle Burden. She oversees the program for Richland. She says the addition of the homes is two-fold.

"It kind of purposes itself not only to help a family get into a home, but it also improves neighborhoods.// Usually neighbors start seeing new construction, they see something nice going up in the community and that kind of...a broken window effect," she says.

And that's exactly what we heard from Ryan.

"They made the lawn look really nice. Made me want to work a little harder on my lawn," he says.

It's a ripple effect throughout the city, while offering families a piece of the American dream.

The program spends as much as 190 thousand dollars on building houses and down payment assistance.

If you'd like to learn more about the home program, talk to any one of the three cities' planning and development departments to learn how to qualify.