LOS ANGELES – A federal program designed to help poor families buy affordable homes has actually been lining the pockets of investors and contractors.
A Los Angeles Times investigation found that the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Dollar Homes program has rarely achieved its stated intent to help struggling families put down roots.
The program was mandated by Congress in 1998 and has little oversight, the newspaper said.
The program allows local governments to buy homes for $1 to fix and resell them at a discount to poor families.
More than 2,300 homes have been sold through the program nationally.
Of the 326 sold in California, 62 homes were bought by the city of San Bernardino. The city doesn't track what happens to the homes after they're sold, but the Times investigation found that at least 43 were sold to contractors and investors, and often resold for three times the original sales price.
Jerry and Carol Ptacek told the Times that they bounced from one cramped apartment to another most of their adult lives before they bought a $63,000 home in San Bernardino through the program. But they say the home needed so many repairs, and between choosing bad loans and gambling losses, they ended up as renters again.