An Indiana city is selling $1 homes to save itself from decay. Here's what you can get for the money.
- The city of Gary, Indiana, is selling a handful of homes for just $1, but buyers are expected to renovate them within one year.
- The Dollar Home Program is part of a strategy to reverse decades of urban blight, which has plagued the city since the decline of the steel industry in the 1960s.
- About a third of homes in Gary are unoccupied or abandoned, but the government remains optimistic that it can breathe new life into its neighborhoods.
Recent years have seen high levels of crime and low levels of employment and education.The local school district has even taken to selling off dilapidated schools that have dealt with vandalism and arson. Despite their crumbling walls and graffitied doors, the buildings may be the district's last hope for paying off $100 million in accumulated debt.
Empty homes are also seen as both a burden and opportunity.
In 2013, the city began selling abandoned properties for a single dollar, provided that the buyer earned at least $35,250 annually and brought the home up to "habitable standards" within a year. At the end of five years, the city would cede full ownership.
The start of the program brought hundreds of applications, though many didn't realize that the homes would require extensive repairs.
A housing coordinator for the city's community development department told The Times of Northwest Indiana that renovations to dollar homes could cost around $20,000 to $30,000. That's still much cheaper than the average home price in Gary, which hovers at around $46,000.The community development department currently lists a dozen dollar homes on its website. Though all are in need of serious renovation, they have plenty of untapped potential. Take a look below.