OGDEN -- With less than a week before the big day and having just fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams, newly minted Ogden resident Ashley Olsen figures to have a pretty good Christmas this year.
Olsen's aspiration came in the form of first-time home ownership, a personal milestone that was finalized earlier this month. But when Olsen signed her name and closed on the home along Van Buren Avenue in East-Central Ogden, she wasn't the only one celebrating an achievement.
Olsen's home was the 100th rehabilitated by Ogden City's Community Development division, in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, since 2005.
The city held an open-house Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the watershed moment.
"When you think about 100 families in this area all having a chance to go after the American Dream -- that's pretty special," said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. "A lot of the homes we have rehabilitated were the worst ones on their block. So not only are we getting people into homes, we're rebuilding and stabilizing neighborhoods."
The city's collection of rehabilitated homes consist of three separate types of neighborhood reclamation programs:
* Asset Control Areas -- where HUD facilitates the transfer and reuse of foreclosed properties within targeted geographic areas by selling them to the city at a discounted price, sometimes as much as 50 percent of the home's appraised value. The process allows the city to spend money on refurbishment of a particular home.
* Infill projects -- where the city builds new homes to fill vacant areas.
* Unit Reduction Developments -- where the city works to shift older, historic homes that have been turned into apartment complexes back into single-family dwellings.
The city also operates a down payment assistance program called "Own in Ogden" which is designed to help residents purchase the homes.
The program provides $5,000 in down payment assistance for homes purchased between Washington and Harrison Boulevards, from 20th Street to 30th Street. A $3,000 down payment assistance is offered for homes in select areas just outside of that area.
Ogden city police officers and firefighters and administrators and teachers in the Ogden School district can receive a $10,000 loan when buying their primary residence with the target area.
The city also offers the Home Exterior Loan Program, or HELP, which lends money to homeowners to rehabilitate the exteriors of their homes -- roofs, windows, porch repairs, paint, driveways and concrete, fencing and sprinkler systems.
The program is meant to lessen the deterioration of some of the more distressed areas in the East-Central neighborhood, but has recently been expanded to the entire city.
Ward Ogden, deputy community development director for the city of Ogden, said the programs address an abundance of foreclosures in the East-Central area of downtown Ogden.
"The result is better neighborhoods, improved home equities, and significant business investment in the area," Ogden said.
Standing next to a bright, new Christmas tree in her new home, Olsen said she was thrilled to be a part of the city's vision.
"We're just so excited to be here," she said.
For more information, visit ogdencityhomes.com.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.