Bankers prep foreclosed Parkrose home for first-time buyer

Take a look, and you’ll see how a unique program is turning empty houses into first homes, affordable to folks of moderate income …

What family wouldn’t like to move into this spacious, refurbished Parkrose neighborhood home? With help from Proud Ground, buying it will now be within reach for a family of moderate means.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The spacious home in the 11500 block of Prescott Street in Parkrose looks perfect – both inside and out – for a large family of modest means. This is due to the efforts of volunteers, a bank, and non-profit organization called Proud Ground.

“We’re an organization that helps first-time homeowners,” said that organization’s deputy director Kathy Armstrong. “We work with those who have steady jobs and stable incomes, so they can affordably buy their first home.”

Volunteer Crew Leader Sherry Glaser, from the Bank of America, pauses for a moment with Proud Ground’s Deputy Director Kathy Armstrong, before heading back to her painting crew.

Proud Ground helps change families who make about $35,000 a year from renters into homeowners through a “land trust” arrangement. “This keeps our homes ‘permanently affordable’,” explained Armstrong. “Should any of our homeowners decide to sell, we are part of that process with them. We help them identify another first-time home buyer of moderate income. The seller gets a share of the appreciation of the property. The rest of the equity stays with the house, so the house is always affordable.”

The NE Prescott Street house is one of ten homes the organization has acquired under the national Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Proud Ground, and their NSP partner NAYA Youth & Family Center, were awarded $1.1 million in NSP funds through the Portland Housing Bureau, which distributed the federal funds locally.

“Everyone wins,” observed Armstrong. “As the program’s name suggests, fixing up vacant, abandoned homes, and helping low- and moderate-income families move in, helps stabilize the street and the neighborhood.”

Volunteers groom the yard of this house, giving it increased “street appeal” – and making it “move-in ready” for the new owners.

On beautiful June Saturday not long ago, we found staff and management from Bank of America volunteering at the property. “All of the renovation funds went to retrofit this home with additional insulation, Energy Star rated windows and appliances, a high-efficiency furnace – and durable materials like countertops, tile work, and flooring. Volunteers are doing yard work and painting the garage to make it ‘move-in ready’,” Armstrong pointed out.

The 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is expected to sell for about $135,000.

Bank of America’s volunteer crew leader, Sherry Glaser, said her crew is proud to volunteer to serve their local community. “Nothings beats the feeling of accomplishment you get when you see the improvement, and know you’re helping someone who might not be able to do this for themselves.”

Volunteers Michael Bolin, Alyssa Boin, and Sherry Glaser paint the finished garage at the NE Prescott Street house.

For more information about Proud Ground, that since 1999, has served 130 new homeowners, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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