There is a brand new homeowner in Franklin County this week.
Cliff Butler, a Franklin County Land Trust board member, was flipping through Facebook one afternoon when he saw an entry that disturbed him.
Kimberly Wallace, an employee at Fathoms in Carrabelle, posted that she was losing her rental and needed a home for her dog, Thor. She had been renting a house with the understanding that she had an option to buy. Unbeknownst to her, her landlord had not been paying his note and the house had gone into foreclosure.
With that on his mind, Butler contacted Wallace through Facebook to tell her the Franklin County Community Development and Land Trust Corporation might be able to help her keep her family together.
They met to discuss options and Butler told her about a house on Arizona Street in
County Planner Alan Pierce said the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program paid for repairs to Daly’s home, and since he had no heirs, he had decided to return the house out of gratitude.
Initially, the county tried to sell the house, but was unable to get the desired minimum price, so they donated the house to be used as low-cost housing.
On August 21, Wallace purchased the house for $45,000, and once the mortgage is paid off, she will own both house and land.
Butler said Wallace was “one of the most appreciative” recipients of help from the land trust he has encountered He said that, while the trust has no more houses available, there are lots in both Apalachicola and Carrabelle.
Randall Webster, executive director of the Franklin Community Development and Land Trust Corporation said there are three ways the trust can put people together with homes. Rarely, he said, can they match a buyer with an existing house that has been deeded to the trust, as was the case with Wallace.
The trust can construct a home on one of the donated lots it holds in inventory, in both Apalachicola and Carrabelle.
Wallace said the trust could also assist with down payment and closing costs for a house on the market that is a good match for a prospective buyer with a qualifying income.
Webster said the trust has a line of credit with the J. Ben Watkins Private Foundation that allows them to tie up properties until prospective buyers can arrange for financing. “We will work with home buyers to deal with any credit issues they may have,” he said.
The trust also offers homebuyer education workshops about every six months.
Butler said the trust is seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified contractors to participate in their construction program. He said there are no USDA certified contractors operating in the county and that USDA certification is required to qualify for some federal grants.
In addition to his position with the Land Trust, Webster has been involved in affordable housing for over 25 years. He has been a real estate broker, a mortgage broker and served as executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Tallahassee. He has also served as vice president for Three Rivers Housing Foundation and planning manager for Single Family Housing Programs for the state of
Webster said anyone interested in finding a home through the land trust should email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 933-3355. Interested parties may also attend a homebuyer’s workshop sponsored by the tru