Money for Nothing

The Neighborhood Stabilization Act is making its way to Berlin. The city is going to receive $4.3 million to rehab homes, demolish old buildings and reinvigorate the housing stock. The money was awarded Thursday, and Berlin received the highest percentage of its funding request of any city in the state.
City housing coordinator Andre Caron and I had talked about the money a week and a half ago, but at that time he wasn’t sure how much the city would get. $1 million for demolition will go a long way to pay for buildings in the 155B process. Mr. Caron said the city still has to learn the specifics of how the money can be allocated, but it should make a big difference in the city.
It begs the question — is it time to by real estate in Berlin? With the federal prison a year and a half from completion and money coming in to revitalize the neighborhood this could be the upswing moment.
Part of the $4.3 million will subsidize owner occupancy house purchases. The city will give you $20,000 (for example) to buy a home in Berlin if you are going to live in it. In a city where housing prices are in the basement such an incentive makes the prospect of home ownership seem more than a wise investment — a $35,000 house with at $20,000 injection of federal money is a done deal. If you can handle the winters.

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