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The Smith-Lewis Family

The Smith-Lewis family has brought new life to a formerly abandoned, blighted home in New Bedford.

Sarah Smith-Lewis, a single mother with four young children, was able to purchase the home on Cottage Street through the Buy New Bedford program, after being selected through a lottery process.

"I am so thankful for the opportunity to buy my own home," she said. "Without programs like this my childhood dream of owning my own home would still be just a childhood dream."

The Buy New Bedford program is a partnership between the city, MassHousing, participating lenders and non-profit agencies. Smith purchased the home with a loan from Bristol County Savings Bank that was insured with MassHousing's MIPlus™ mortgage insurance.

"Sarah's story shows the real success of a program like Buy New Bedford where we can partner with the city, lenders like Bristol County Savings Bank, and non-profit organizations to help people like Sarah purchase a home for their families," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason. "A former vacant, blighted dwelling has been transformed into a new home for a young family who will become a vibrant new part of the neighborhood and the city overall."

When the elderly woman who last owned the home passed away with no will and no apparent heirs, the property soon fell into disrepair and became abandoned. It was reclaimed through the Massachusetts Attorney General's Receivership Program and the city's Office of Housing and Community Development.

The home was purchased and rehabbed by the non-profit The Resource, Inc., who also collected applications from first-time buyers who were entered into the lottery to buy the home.

Renovations included new roofing and siding, insulation, energy efficient windows, a new kitchen and two new bathrooms with energy efficient appliances and fixtures and a new energy efficient heating system.