PARIS – Community Concepts Inc. is purchasing a vacant single-family home on Barrows Street in South Paris as part of its new Lease to Purchase program, which will enable families to lease their homes before buying them.

The social services agency also has purchased a five-lot subdivision on Ralph Richardson Road in Norway to provide affordable housing. The land was sold to Community Concepts by Jayco Corp.

Mary Ellen Therriault, Community Concepts spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the Barrows Street home is the first home purchased under the new program. Community Concepts plans to make improvements to the house, and it should be in move-in condition sometime next year.

“It needs some safety upgrades and some energy-efficient-type upgrading,” Therriault said.

The Lease to Purchase program is currently accepting applications for the home. The family that moves into it would lease it with the eventual goal of purchasing it in about one year.

“That year would be used to get used to paying a mortgage and take care of any credit issues,” Therriault said.

Community Concepts has a budget of $32 million this year and a staff of about 425 employees. The agency runs programs aimed at providing affordable housing primarily to low- and moderate-income residents of Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties.

Therriault said three of the lots in the five-lot subdivision in Norway meet the criteria for the agency’s Self Help Home Ownership program, in which groups of people build their own homes and also help build each other’s homes.

“Those (three) lots will probably be used for that,” she said. “The other two lots do not meet the criteria, nor will they. Those will probably be used to build affordable homes which will be sold as single-family homes.

“We don’t have families for (all of) those lots yet,” she said.

Community Concepts has already built more than 100 homes under the Self Help Home Ownership program, and the program will extend into Cumberland County in the spring of 2006 to assist families there. “We try to continually acquire land for our programs,” Therriault said.

David Holt, Norway town manager, said improvements had been made to Ralph Richardson Road before the land purchase by Community Concepts. The road was widened so two cars can pass one another, he said.

Jodi Keniston, town assessor, said the purchase price of the land would be known after paperwork is completed, including the town’s receiving the deed from the Registry of Deeds. The process normally takes a month or two.

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