Innovative loan program could save older Paris homes

PARIS, TX -- Instead of tearing down dilapidated homes, the city of Paris is looking at an innovative program that would help residents repair them.

It would would offer up to a $5,000 loan to fix up homes in Paris that need it most.

"There are situations that people are in that they are unable to spend money immediately to fix their properties and this gives them the ability to do that," said Paris Mayor A.J. Hashmi.

Currently code enforcement has over a 100 homes on a list to be demolished and each demolition costs the city around $2,500. The city wants to reallocate funds from their dilapidated homes fund and put them towards the loan program, guaranteeing half of the loan to homeowners.

"We are going to take about a $100,000 out of that and use that towards guaranteeing these properties or these loans," said Hashmi.

When Paris resident Kathy Whitley was young and in foster homes, she couldn't wait to get a home of her own. Today she has that home, but her leaky roof is in desperate need of repair and she says this program would take some of the financial burden off her shoulders.

"It would be almost like a miracle," said Whitley. "I wouldn't have to worry about things anymore, you know little by little everything starts falling. It would be great."

Through the program homeowners would not have to go through all the FDIC requirements banks go through for home improvement loans. Interest rates have not been determined yet, but Mayor Hashmi doesn't expect high rates.

"The intention is not to overburden the homeowners, the purpose is to help them out," said Hashmi.

Mayor Hashmi hopes the program will be approved in an upcoming council meeting and wants to implement the program by the beginning of next year.

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