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Consultants disagree on payment plan for Calexico housing project residents

June 30, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — In one corner of this city's council chambers stood Mike Kucharzak, a housing consultant with Atlanta-based Goodwin and Associates, who was hired by the Calexico Housing Authority.

Across the dais stood Victor Rocha, a housing consultant from El Centro who is working on behalf of residents of the Casas del Sol housing project in the southwestern part of town.

Facing off during a portion of Friday's special meeting of the Calexico Housing Authority, the two consultants gave the authority board diametrically opposed opinions on the homeownership implementation plan before the board Friday night.

The board was discussing a motion to approve a revised version of the implementation plan that will set the ground rules for a federal home-buying program that will allow the low-income families of Casas del Sol to buy the homes they rent from the housing authority.

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Rocha said the plan was fine the way it was submitted more than a year ago.

Kucharzak stated the plan should be amended.

Both told the board they are acting in the interest of the residents.

The most contentious issue was a proposed revision Kucharzak made that would allow qualifying residents to buy their homes with 20-year mortgages at 4.5 percent interest.

Rocha told the board the original implementation plan for the homebuying program had a 30-year mortgage at 7.75 percent for the residents.

"If you lower it to 20 years, a lot of residents won't be able to make their monthly payments," Rocha said.

Kucharzak said the 4.5 percent interest rate would be a benefit to the residents and offset a decade-shorter mortgage.

Because of concerns raised by Rocha, the authority board decided to wait 15 days before making a decision on how the implementation plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Once the plan is submitted to HUD, Casas residents will have to wait until the homes they now rent are repaired and appraised and the plan is approved. Then the financial part of the homebuying process can begin.

Kucharzak said Saturday he will work with Rocha to listen to and address residents' concerns.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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