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CR Housing Program Now in Final Round

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--A program in Cedar Rapids that helps people own new affordable homes is now in its final round of funding.

ROOTS stands for rebuilding, ownership, opportunities and together.

It's a collaborative approach to rebuilding the community after the flood of 2008.

Take a drive down Ellis Boulevard and you'll quickly see them, brand new houses springing up in an area that was once flooded.

"It's amazing to have a new house, nothing's breaking, nothing is falling apart, there's no weird noises, it's all going really well,” said Tonya Vega.

Tonya moved into a similar home in October 2013. She says it's a big improvement for her family.

It's amazing because they helped me with the down payment. We didn't have money for a down payment so we thought we'd be stuck renting forever,” she said.

Stories like hers are why city leaders worked to get a fourth and final round of funding to expand the roots program.

"The roots program has been tremendous on a variety of fronts. Not just giving people a place to live, adding to the property tax base but having children and families live in these neighborhoods again,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, which is good for the neighborhood.

"So the overall value of the property today is higher than what it was pre flood and that has a ripple effect then to the rest of the homes,” he said.

The total value of the properties was about 8 million dollars before the floods. After the storms, that number fell to a little over 1.5 million. As of march 2014, it's back up to almost 14 million.

It's why Tonya is happy her family took advantage of the program

"It's amazing. We feel blessed every day, we thank God for having our own homes something to call our own. Our kids can be proud of us and they love their new rooms. Everything is just great,” she said.

Roots offers qualified home buyers down payment assistance up to 25 percent of the cost of the home.

To date 140 homes have been built and 390 families have qualified to participate.
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