The Bryan City Council approved a new incentive Tuesday that would allow people living in aging mobile and manufactured homes an option to move into a permanent “stick-built” house.

Through the Bryan Home Foundation Initiative, the City of Bryan will purchase 10 mobile or manufactured homes that are nearing the end of their lives in exchange for $10,000 toward the family’s down payment, mortgage loan and closing cost for the construction of a new single-family permanent home on the same lot.

The owners and potential clients must be legal residents who have lived in Bryan for at least five years and who reside in a former MU-1 Mixed Use Residential zoning district.

With the ability to build the new permanent structure on the same lot where the mobile or manufactured home was, the incentive program is targeted toward people who own both the home and the lot.

In addition to applying for the $10,000 incentive, approved clients also may qualify for the Down Payment Assistance program, which would give families an additional $7,500 that serves as a zero-interest loan, Frank Clark, economic development business liaison and special projects manager, said during Tuesday’s Bryan City Council meeting.

It does not matter if the mobile home is the family’s first or not, he clarified.

Potential clients must be able to get financing; be current on their income taxes, student loans and child support payments, as applicable; and cannot owe any back taxes or liens on the property that are not part of a payment plan.

Program builders can include nonprofit organizations as long as an agreement with the city is signed and at least two plans — a smaller two-bed, one-bath house and a three-bed, two-bath home – with a guaranteed price for each are presented.

Potential prices, Clark said, would be a 950-square-foot house at $90,000 and a 1,200-square-foot home at $110,000, before the $10,000 and $7,500 is factored into the mortgage price.

Mayor Andrew Nelson clarified the purpose of the new incentive program is not for people to give up or move out of “perfectly good brand new” mobile or manufactured homes, but to give people an option.

“If that mobile home has got a good serviceable life, you stay in that mobile home,” he said, “but those that are in a dilapidated home and now have to face a decision of replacing that mobile home with another mobile home or one that might change their financial life and be a safer, better financial foundation. I think this program is just unbelievable.”

The challenge, Clark said, will be to get people who are paying about $26.68 per month in taxes to move into a permanent structure that would require monthly house payments of about $800 for the 1,200-square-foot home.

As a comparison, he said, a 1,200-square-foot home would have with a projected $92,500 mortgage — after the incentive and down payment assistance payments — would be worth an estimated $259,222 after 30 years, as opposed to a 1,216-square-foot mobile or manufactured home that costs $70,000 that would be worth an estimated $38,184 after 30 years.

Beyond the financial comparison, Clark said, the stick-built home gives families “the basis of personal financial success.”

The program will cost the city $130,000, which includes $100,000 to purchase the 10 mobile or manufactured homes per year, $15,000 to clear the accompanying titles and $15,000 to demo and clear the purchased mobile homes.

Echoing Nelson, District 1 Councilmember Reuben Marin said, the program is not to get rid of mobile homes, but rather targets generational poverty.

A stick-built home gives families a house that increases in value instead of decreasing over time. And a decade or two later, they have something to pass on to their children and grandchildren, he said.

“This is a program that will give your kids better, that will give your grandkids better,” Marin continued. “A house that appreciates. A house that they can hand down; they can have Christmas, Thanksgiving. This is something that will be in their family for generations, and this is a program we’re trying to implement.”

It is not the “fix-all” to the affordable housing need in Bryan — or anywhere else in the country — but it is a stepping stone, he said, and a safer one as well.

“I think it’s going to be very beneficial to our citizens here in the city of Bryan to put them in a site-built home that will appreciate and they can gain generational wealth instead of seeing that cycle of generational poverty,” he said. “I’m excited about this program. I can’t wait. I got a chill up my back just talking about it. I’m so excited about this, and this is just the first step.”

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