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DREAMS. Innovative programs of the City of Dubuque to renovate once-abandoned and dilapidated houses and stabilize deteriorating neighborhoods. Starting in 1993, the City purchased rundown property which was then sold to low-to-moderate income residents and first-time buyers. The buyer had to put 3% down on the house and make monthly payments of about $400.00. Financing was secured through one of four lenders with the City often providing a long-term second mortgage. (1)

Participants were required to take thirteen-week courses in finance, budgeting and rehabilitation of older homes and then live in the house for five years or pay a penalty. By 1996, investment in some of the city's oldest neighborhoods totaled $659,481. Of those involved in the program, eleven families had renovated houses increasing their assessed value by 300%. No family had defaulted on a loan. (2)

Finding buyers for DREAM houses was not always successful. A property on University Avenue that had been vacate for more than 20 years had been purchased from Dubuque County for one dollar by the city. After $14,000 had been invested in repairs in hopes that it would be purchased and renovated as part of the DREAMS program, the house was sold to a local developer for one thousand dollars. (3)



1. Arnold, Bill. "4 Lenders Bankroll DREAMS," Telegraph Herald, January 29, 1993, p. 1

2. Wilkinson, Jennifer. "Dubuque Looking to Sell DREAM House for $1,000," Telegraph Herald, June 13, 1998, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980613&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. Ibid.