Lease-Purchase Program: Making Dreams Come True

When single mom and environmental educator Brenna Galligan decided that she wanted to buy a house early last year, she immediately called Home HeadQuarters for help. After speaking to a housing counselor, she realized that she wasn’t in a position to purchase. Her credit wasn’t bad, but her annual income from a local non-profit made buying a home just out of reach.

In October, Brenna’s lease was coming up, her landlord was M.I.A., and after a break-in at her apartment, she was more than ready to move. She saw a posting for HHQs’ Lease-Purchase Program and within minutes, was on the phone with staff and filling out an application. Three weeks later, Brenna and her six-year old son were living in a single-family home, rehabbed by Home HeadQuarters, in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood--a home that one day will be theirs.

“I really have to pinch myself—living in this house, it’s the perfect thing,” says Brenna when talking about the Lease-Purchase opportunity.

The program, made possible through Onondaga County and the Alliance for Economic Inclusion with funds from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, offers families the chance to rent for one to three years while they work to build credit and/or savings to purchase. A portion of the tenant’s rent is set aside each month to help pay for the down payment. Tenants also take advantage of Home HeadQuarters’ certified Homebuyer Education and counseling at some point during the rental period.

“My son can now play outside in our fenced backyard and I can watch him while cooking dinner. I didn’t think that would ever happen for us. I would never be able to afford something like this on the private market,” says Brenna. “My son has to keep reminding me that we’re going home to our house.”

Fill out a Lease-Purchase application HERE!

Going Modular to Get the Lead Out

Home HeadQuarters commissioned construction of a two-story, 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath single-family modular home to replace a vacant structure that was demolished due to dangerously high levels of lead.

Last week, the more than 65,000 pounds of modular home sections, that include everything from the front doorbell to the upstairs bathtub, were set, piece by piece, by a 100-ton crane on the city's Near Northside. Final interior and exterior trim, flooring and mechanical hook-ups will be done by Home HeadQuarters’ construction crew and ultimately, the home will be sold to a first-time, low-income home buyer who has graduated from HHQs’ HomeBuyer Education Course.

The original structure, featured in a Syracuse.com story about lead poisoning, was initially slated for substantial rehabilitation, but was deemed infeasible once lead remediation costs alone were estimated to be more than $100,000. Modular building, which is all done inside a climate-controlled environment helps manage costs and provide year-round construction, especially helpful for communities like Syracuse with a limited building season.

This particular new home project was made possible with support from the City of Syracuse, The NYS Attorney General’s Office, the Greater Syracuse Area Landbank and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation.