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Fostering home ownership City program to help people buy houses deserves praise, expansion elsewhere

One of the key factors in assuring the viability of a community is to guarantee its inhabitants have a vested interest. Thus we applaud the announcement of a consolidated and cooperative effort by Buffalo officials, major banks and representatives of real estate and insurance industries to open a storefront at 560 Delaware Ave., to provide "one-stop shopping" for interested home buyers.

Community loyalty is built through participation in activities ranging from culture to religion to recreational sports. Most of all, interest piques when those living in an area have invested their money in owning their homes.

The Homeownership Center of Buffalo, especially as it targets low- to moderate-income people, acknowledges the importance of encouraging people to "buy in" to the community. Moreover, it eases the process for first-time home buyers with technical assistance and a one-hour orientation class, four of which are held each month. There are also other classes to complete, enabling participants to qualify for mortgages and down-payment assistance from the city. The center is available as a continued resource for home buyers even after the closing.

Home ownership is not for everyone. Those who choose the path may do so for practical reasons: tax savings, a more stable monthly housing expense and equity. For others, timing may be an issue and the allure of not having home ownership responsibilities, such as maintenance and flexibility, may win.

Still, for those who see a path toward investment in the city and in their futures, the Homeownership Center of Buffalo provides a helpful guide.

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