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Program helps families buy homes in Lawton

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Two Lawton families got the keys to their new homes Friday, thanks to a program the city offers. The First-Time Home Buyers program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps the city put low-income families into rehabbed homes they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Through this program, the families get a home at a cost that's well below market value, and the mortgage is interest-free.

The Camarillo's and the Shields said they never thought they would be able to own their own home. Now, the large expense of providing a roof over their heads is one more thing they don't have to worry about.

When asked who is more excited about their new house, Felicia Camarillo's sons win that debate.

Camarillo works two jobs to support her four sons, ages 7 through 12. She applied for the First-Time Home Buyers program about 5 months ago after hearing about it from her mother.

"It's something that I really wanted,” said Camarillo. “These boys are happy so you know at the end of the day that's all that matters. That everybody is happy."

Not far from where the Camarillo's are moving in, the Shields walked into their new home for the first time.

Medical bills and only one income put a strain on the Shields' finances. Buying a home was just a dream until they applied for this program.

"The help that they have given us helps tremendously,” said Thomas Shields. “I wish I knew all the words. Sometimes words fail you, sometimes. And this is one of them."

About $50,000 of federal money is given to the city from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development were used on these two homes.

Anthony Griffith, Lawton Housing and Community Development assistant director said they carefully screen the families who apply, looking at income, credit, job history and even the members that make up the family.

"We try to fit it into the most needed category, and unfortunately the most needed category is single mothers,” said Griffth. “They suffer the most disadvantage of any of the groups. So, we look at several factors."

The families moved into Councilman Keith Jackson's ward, where he came to meet each family. Jackson said for his ward and the city, this isn't the end.

"We're just pleased,” said Jackson. “We are going to move on and do some more as a matter of fact. We are not going to stop with these two. We are going to continue to do more."

For families like the Shields and Camarillos, this is only the beginning.

"To say we own the house this is ours that's what makes it all better," said Camarillo.

The families have big weekend ahead of them, and are not wasting any time getting into their new homes. Both said they are moving in this weekend

If you want more information on the programs the Lawton Housing and Community Development offers, call them at 580-581-3347.

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