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5/6/064 - Miami Herald

Some homeowners to get bargain loans

Low-income homeowners in two cities will have an opportunity to make home repairs, thanks to more than $300,000 from a loan and a grant.

By Trenton Daniel

Opa-locka and Miami Gardens homeowners, take note. With a newly acquired loan of $288,000 from the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, the Opa-locka Community Development Corp. is seeking to help homeowners spruce up their houses, the nonprofit group announced.

The money will be earmarked for the loan rehab program administered by the CDC's Community Fund of North Miami Dade and will target low and middle-income homeowners who live in the Opa-locka and Miami Gardens area and need home repairs but cannot qualify for loans from traditional lenders.

The loans will be made with interest rates no higher than 6 percent and low closing costs based on the size of each loan, CDC officials said.

''What we're trying to accomplish is two things,'' Juan Penzol, the CDC's housing and finance director, said by telephone Tuesday.

``One is to help the homeowners [who] cannot access the traditional loan sources with a loan program that will be relatively low cost to them. . . . The second is to make sure that they do the repairs they need, and the repairs get done.''

The Opa-locka CDC also announced it received a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department for $23,880 for the Community Fund of North Miami Dade, a subsidiary of the CDC.

''That money allows us to do marketing and technical assistance with computers,'' Willie Logan, president of the Opa-locka CDC, said Tuesday.

Logan, a former state legislator, is running for the District 1 County Commission seat being vacated by Betty Ferguson.

Interested homeowners should contact Penzol to complete an application. He may be reached at 305-687-3545, ext. 236.

The 14-year-old nonprofit organization aims to tackle the distressed unemployment conditions in Opa-locka and other North Dade communities by providing affordable housing and supportive services to individuals and families.