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7 Families Win Lottery to Buy Low-Cost Homes : Housing: City's program provides help with financing for purchasers with low and moderate incomes.

February 25, 1993|DUKE HELFAND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

COMMERCE — Seven families are scheduled to move into new homes on Lanto Street and Pacific Drive by early next month in a city-sponsored effort to provide affordable homes to low-income residents, officials said.

The families were selected for the $175,000, three-bedroom homes through a city lottery. Although last-minute financing details are still being worked out, housing officials said they are optimistic that the families will be able to move in on schedule.

"We're pretty excited," said Alfred Jaramillo, a free-lance illustrator and part-time city employee whose family qualified for a mortgage. "We lived in Commerce just about all our lives . . . We are so excited (because) we (will) have the space we need. My younger boy now can have his own room."

Two of the families are considered low-income and five are moderate-income, meaning their gross annual incomes fall below median Los Angeles County levels. The city is now seeking a very-low income family from an existing waiting list to buy an eighth home.

A very-low income family of three is defined as one that earns no more than $21,000. A moderate-income family of five cannot earn more than $60,800.

A very-low income family will pay an estimated $525 monthly mortgage, while the cost will be about $1,520 for a moderate-income family, said Brian Dowling, housing programs manager for the city Community Development Department.

Each of the families had to come up with a $8,750 down payment, plus $3,000 in escrow and closing costs. The two low-income families have qualified for $75,000 mortgages, Dowling said. The city is making up the remaining costs of the homes, valued at $175,000, with $40,000 second mortgages and grants of bond funds set aside for affordable housing.

"People fail to recognize that these are people with regular jobs. It's not like they are in hard economic times or out of work," said Rick Martinez, vice president of TELACU Affordable Housing, which developed the homes. "Housing in L.A. is so expensive that they would never be able to afford a home. This gives an opportunity for hard-working families to live closer to their jobs."

The 1,550-square-foot homes have private fenced back yards, gas stoves, dishwashers, central air conditioning and heating, and 400-square-foot garages.

"This is a pretty good house, I can tell you," said Miguel Pitones, whose family has lived in Commerce for a decade. "We tried to buy before but the payments were too high. I don't think anybody else would give (us) this type of opportunity."

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