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McLEAN, Va. – It’s called “Building a Better Block Gwinnett,” and the goal is for Freddie Mac together with The IMPACT Group, mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, and Brand Bank to work together to revive neighborhoods in Gwinnett County, Ga. by rehabilitating dozens of empty foreclosed homes, providing affordable low-downpayment mortgages and potentially thousands of dollars in downpayment assistance to qualified, mainly first-time, homebuyers. Officials from Freddie Mac and the IMPACT Group, a nonprofit community development corporation, say they hope to provide residents of Gwinnett County with a stead supply of quality, renovated homes. As repairs are completed, the homes will be marketed and sold through participating local real estate professionals. HomeStepsT, Freddie Mac’s real estate-owned sales unit, will handle the renovation of the properties. Freddie Mac said HomeSteps invests an average of $5,000 in repairs and improvements per repaired home as an added benefit to the buyer. More than half of all HomeSteps homes are sold to borrowers earning less than $50,000 annually. In addition, HomeSteps has agreed to provide a $500 closing certificate for each borrower to use when they purchase a HomeSteps home. Taylor, Bean & Whitaker plans to offer a variety of low-downpayment, flexible credit mortgage products. Lastly, the IMPACT Group will offer eligible homeowners up to $5,000 in downpayment assistance and all program participants the ability to participate in their Individual Development Account program. – [email protected]

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