The funds were suspended last year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development because of multiple violations. Now after changes within the city's housing department, $63 million in HUD funds are available again, allowing Houston to restart its down payment assistance program. "We're going to have a record number of new single family housing starts in the next twelve months within the city limits of Houston,"says Houston Mayor Bill White. "We know how important that is for people. It's important to make this city a real city of opportunity for everyone."
Today on the city's north side, Sergio DeLeon and Violeta Martinez were handed a $10,000 down payment check for their new home as part of the city's program. Martinez says the financial jump-start helped. "We're very happy that the city of Houston could provide these programs for our family and for the other families that will be receiving help as well," she says.
Milton Wilson is the city's housing director and says fixing the program means lower-income Houstonians can now buy their own homes again. "This is the American Dream, the own your house, to have affordable housing in Houston and we plan to do that much, much more," he says.