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