New beginnings for Lincoln Park homeowners

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South Bend, Indi. South Bend Heritage Foundation said welcome home to the first 12 of 24 lucky homeowners who got the keys to their new house in South Bend's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Each home has 2-4 bedrooms and cost anywhere from $270-$595 a month plus utilities.

Ms. Willie, as people call her, has lived in South Bend for 10 years and works at the front desk of the Charles Martin Youth Center in South Bend. She greets folks with her warm smile all day long and on Saturday she got the keys to her 3 bedroom home. She says she’s excited to be a part of the new community.

“Feeling safe is important to everyone and I feel safe just because I know my neighbors. I know who they’re going to be,” says Ms. Willie.

Part of South Bend Heritage's screening process asked potential home owners to show their volunteerism in addition to income and family size. They sought individuals who are directly involved in their community to become the new homeowners.

“If you’re not living in a great place it makes it difficult to get a job, it makes it difficult to take care of your kids so homes still matter to South Bend Heritage Foundation,” says executive director, Marco Mariani.

Funding for the project includes $369,000 in tax credits from the Indian Housing Finance Authority and a $400,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. The project is also funded through the city of South Bend HOME funds and low-income tax-credit equity.

I see myself here long term. I want to plant me and my family here and grow; make it the best neighborhood in south bend,” says Ms. Willie.

The Heritage Foundation says they finished building the first 12 homes and they're still going full speed ahead to finish the final 12 houses which will be ready to move in to in come April.

South Bend Heritage Foundation says they haven’t finalized the homeowners for the last 12 houses. They say they will still sit down with people who are interested to talk about the possibility of moving in to one of their new homes this spring.

Contact South Bend Heritage if you're interested in moving in.