Program enabling officers to live in neighborhoods grows

September 05, 1998|By Daniel Valentine | Daniel Valentine,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Federal officials are expanding a program used in Baltimore and other cities that encourages police officers to buy homes, with financial help, in the jurisdictions where they work.

The number of homes in the year-old "Officers Next Door" program will rise from 2,000 to 3,000, Vice President Al Gore said yesterday in a ceremony at the White House.

Baltimore ranks fifth in participation in the program, with 50 city police officers taking part in the program.

In the program, homes that have been foreclosed by the Federal Housing Authority are sold to officers at 50 percent of the cost in exchange for a three-year commitment to live in the home.

Along with the increase in available homes, several banks have agreed to reduce their closing costs and mortgage rates for participants in the program, said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

"The deal got sweeter for police officers today across the nation," Cuomo said. But the deal isn't just sweeter for them.

"Having a police officer live in the community they serve is an advantage in itself," he said. "Beyond a doubt, it's the single best thing we can do for a community."

For the discount to apply, the officer must live in an area designated as a "distressed community" by HUD. A local HUD spokesman said most of Baltimore meets the description, according to the agency's guidelines.

Officers are invited to find out more by calling HUD at 410-962-2520, or Golden Feather Realty Services, which handles sales for most of the homes, at 410-837-4322.

Pub Date: 9/05/98

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