A dream (house) come true

Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:00 PM EDT


NEW BRITAIN — Eleven-year-old Ameka Dunn saw the home of her dreams on Connecticut Avenue while her mother was house hunting in the city earlier this year.Stewart and Jones in front of her new house

“When my daughter saw it, she said ‘please mom, buy this house,’ Marcia Jones said Thursday. “I told her we’d have to look some more, but she said please. I looked around a little but then came back to this house.”

Picking out the single-family white house, located at 80 Connecticut Ave. on the city’s east side, was an easy choice. But, Jones said, she could not have paid for it without the help from the city’s Home Ownership Program, which is funded with federal Housing and Urban Development money and administered through the city’s Department of Municipal Development.

Jones and her two children gave Mayor Erin Stewart and other city officials a tour of her “dream house,” which has three rooms, a finished deck and a large yard.

Jones became the first recipient to receive funds via the program, which had been in hiatus for several years.

As part of the program, the city is giving Jones a down payment assistance of $20,000 in HUD funds. The program allows new homeowners who meet certain criteria to borrow up to 20 percent of the purchase price of the home and pay it back between 5-30 years, depending on the individual. Jones, a Dattco bus driver, will have 30 years to pay back her loan. Jones said her payments are less than $100 a month.

Jones, who closed on the house June 27 and moved in three days later, said, “Without the loan, I could not have gotten the house. It would have just been too much money.” As it turned out, Jones had to put up only a $7,000 down payment to a local bank.

The 31-year-old Jamaica native said everything about her new home “is amazing. I’d tell people to jump on this program and go for it. You can’t beat 20 percent.”

Criteria to be a part of the program include being a first-time home buyer; meeting HUD income guidelines; and attending and passing a first-time home buyers class.

Stewart said Thursday that owning your own home is “the American dream. It’s a very gratifying feeling to see the smiles on their faces and to know this was one of the programs we’ve been talking about for awhile.”

Those interested in the program should call the Department of Municipal Development, located in City Hall, at (860) 826-3330 and ask for either Margaret Malinowski or Deborah Anderson.

This article originally appeared in the New Britain Herald.