Port Authority helps dreams come true

15_pa-home_4706HOME BOUGHT  — From the left is Cheryl Curry from Port Authority, Mike and Kay Rhodes, new homeowners and Shari Richter, realtor from H & R Realty.  I-O Photo by Tirsea McNeal

By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter

When Mike and Kay Rhoads recently closed on their first home at 16 N. Virginia, the evidence of vast community support was everywhere.

The Pondera Regional Port Authority has been working on a program to make housing more affordable.

Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) with funds from the Community Development Block Grant and HUD the Port Authority has been able to purchase three foreclosed and abandoned houses and renovate them, making them available to low and moderate income people.

Through a subsidy, the Port Authority has been able to make these homes affordable.

Some stipulations do exist.  In order to qualify for purchase, individuals or families must earn less than 120 percent of the area median income (AMI), with one of the properties allocated to someone at 50 percent AMI or less.

Any subsidy is carried as a non-interest loan until the first mortgage is repaid, at which time payments are to be made on the subsidy.

With two of the three properties sold, the Port Authority will continue to look for more houses to purchase with the same goal in mind.  They will continue to help make housing more affordable in our area.

The Rhoads’s story began close to two months ago.  After living in Conrad for nine years and deciding to put down roots in the community, Mike and Kay decided the time was right to purchase a home.

Rhoads has been employed by ITB as a production manager for their military division for the last six years and was informed of the program by his employer, Rob Cook.

Concerned about dealing with the red tape of a government program, it’s easy to say the Rhoads’s were skeptical.

Though there were definitely some hoops to jump through, Rhoads was aided by Stockman Bank loan officer Joan Jensen.

Rhoads commented, “Joan really helped us out with the government forms and paperwork.”

H&R Realty also played a large role in the Rhoads’s home ownership journey.

As all three Port Authority properties are open listings, realtors are often the first to let potential buyers know of the program.

As a first time homeowner at 50 years old, Rhoads really believes in the program.

He states, “More people should know about this program.  If you have patience and good credit you can own a home.”

With a new home and children also living in the area, it’s safe to say that the Rhoads’s are here to stay.

Success stories like this really show what can happen when a community rallies around a program with a set goal in mind.