At the same time as the Urban Homesteading Program was starting, the Housing Authority
and the City knew that the existing homeowners in South Decatur needed help in maintaining
and upgrading their homes. If this help was not forthcoming, many homeowners would
be either forced out of their homes or their home’s value and the stability of the
neighborhood would be threatened.
Using some innovative efforts to raise funds for low interest loans the Housing
Authority was able to assist 148 homeowners with $1,834,996 in grants and low interest
loans to rehabilitate their homes. The Authority utilized both a HUD loan program
and Housing Authority grant and loan funds. These loan funds were raised using HUD
funds the City received as a result of the longstanding urban renewal programs that
had gone on in Decatur, and which the Housing Authority then leveraged into a loan
In an area of 1,759 homes, 15% were affected by either the Housing Rehabilitation
Loan and Grant Program or the Urban Homestead Program. This investment of $3,417,367
in funds to rehabilitate these 261 houses provided a tremendous commitment to stopping
the decline of the Oakhurst area and helping it to become an area that people felt
good about living in and attracting new families and investment into the area.
This is a perfect example of government (City, Housing Authority and HUD) and
a local savings and loan (Decatur Federal) working together, proactively, to preserve
a community and its housing resources.