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Urban Homesteading

Approximately 150 vacant, foreclosed houses - that was the Oakhurst neighborhood in 1976! "FBI - No Trespassing" signs covered boarded-up windows throughout the area.

With the support of the City of Decatur, the Housing Authority became 1 of 23 cities in the country to be part of an Urban Homesteading Demonstration Program. This program was frequently referred to as the "Dollar House Program."

Between, 1976 and 1982, 113 boarded-up houses were sold by the Housing Authority for $1.00 to new owners. In addition, the Authority provided these new homeowners with $2,582,371 in financing for the rehabilitation of the houses back into homes that contribute to the community.  Without Urban Homesteading those 150 derelict houses might have continued to grow in number and the negative impact upon Decatur could have multiplied.

Young singles, families, and seniors were the recipients of these houses that allowed them to become part of the Decatur community. Today, 30 years later many of these original owners still call their "dollar houses", home.

Homeowners have said, "this was the only way I was able to become a homeowner" and it was "a way for us to afford our first home."

Tremendously successful and very popular, the Urban Homesteading Program preserved these houses, helped provide the neighborhood a chance to stabilize itself, and offered 113 families the opportunity to become homeowners in Decatur. The Housing Authority is proud to have been the agency to administer this program!

Homesteading home front porch Homesteading front of home