Federal agency helps disabled purchase homes

Ralph Gallagher’s lifetime dream was to own a home, said Tammy Lewis, executive director of Alliance Behavioral Health Services, a private, for-profit agency that helps the developmentally disabled.

A long-time client of mental health service providers, Gallagher never earned enough money to pay a mortgage, she noted.

This is where Clovis Secton 8 Homeownership Program came in. Introduced in Clovis in December 2003, the program uses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental assistance vouchers to qualify for a mortgage, said Lucy Cassin, family self-sufficiency coordinator and housing counselor at the Clovis Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

To be eligible, most applicants have to be first-time home buyers, have a minimum income of $10,300, and complete credit screening and pre- and post-purchase counseling. The employment requirement is waived for the elderly and the disabled, she said.

Through the program, Gallagher was able to find a house, at less than he previously paid in rent.

“He told the lady at the loan closing he plans to live there a hundred years,” Cassin said.

Gallagher is the first Clovis resident to close on a house through the program.

For further information, call Cassin at 769-7902.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Jack King. Suggested items may be mailed to editor David Stevens at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com