Posted Friday, February 22, 2013--- 5:20 p.m.
For 13 years, Dane County Housing Authority's home-ownership program offered loans $12,000 for down payments, but that is all ending this year.
Over the past eight years, more than $1 million in community development block grants has helped 165 people put down payments on their first homes
But reduced federal funding led to the elimination of Dane County Housing Authority's program. It began in 2000 with $400,000 and was brought down to just $125,000 last year. When DCHA was told they'd be given only $50,000 for the program this year, they decided to pull the plug
"[It] means we could only service two to three families, and unfortunately that's just not enough to keep the program sustainable," said DCHA's executive director, Robert Dicke.
But while the funding diminished, so did the demand. A recent survey of DCHA's clientele found that most aren't looking to buy-- they're renting.
"Home-ownership has been pushed away from most people's reach," said Dicke.
This turns DCHA's focus to creating more affordable housing
"Right now people are looking for decent, safe, sanitary rental housing. They're living with friends, family, paying more than 50 percent of their income towards rent. Home-ownership is off their radar," said Dicke.
DCHA still has enough money from last year's home ownership program to fund two more loans before it's finished.