Houselowa offered in C.R.

Metro Area Housing Program to receive funds

By Michael Ferreter Gazette news intern

The Gazette, Sept. 18, 1996

DES MOINES — A program that will make $3 billion in funding available over the next five years could benefit hundreds of Eastern Iowans dreaming of becoming homeowners, officials said Tuesday.

Cedar Rapids’ Metro Area Housing Program is one of the non-profit organizations working with Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest provider of home mortgage funds, to produce Houselowa, a program of mortgage options for low- to middle-income families.

Mary Schoen-Clark, Metro Area’s director, said the effect on the area would be “substantial.”

“Operational dollars are very hard to come by for non-profit organizations. It will have a major impact. We probably will impact 300 households in the next 30 days,” she said.

Schoen-Clark said her group will begin to educate potential home buyers, by visiting various companies and talking with employees during the lunch hour.

One of the programs under HouseIowa is for rural housing loans. Under the Guaranteed Rural Housing Program, home buyers may not be required to make a down payment if the house is in a designated rural area — populations of 10,000 or fewer people.

The next step for Fannie Mae is to disseminate the Houselowa information to potential homeowners and to work with their lenders and real estate agents, said Joe O’Hern, director of Fannie Mae’s Iowa Partnership Office.

Separately, the Fannie Mae Foundation gave six grants totaling $55,000 to non-profit housing organizations in Iowa, including $10,000 to the Metro Area Housing Program.

Schoen-Clark described t h e double good fortune of the grant and the Houselowa program as “a boost in the arm. … That’s really valuable.”