Twin Cities officials are taking applications for a federal program to help low- to moderate-income home buyers take over foreclosed properties.

Both cities have money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Grant program, part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act approved by Congress last summer. Auburn will receive $1.2 million; Lewiston, $1.47 million. Both programs will be run through the cities’ Community Development Block Grant Program.

The money can be used to buy foreclosed properties that are standing vacant, to renovate them and put them back on the market. It can be used for properties taken over by the city for unpaid property taxes or those owned by banks.

In Auburn, the budget is enough to buy and rehab nine buildings and to demolish another four.

Lewiston’s program looks to purchase and demolish as many as 50 blighted structures through September 2010, purchase and rehabilitate 10 homes and provide financing to redevelop another 10.

To qualify, a family’s minimum income must be $23,000 per year and cannot exceed 120 percent of the area’s median income. For a family of four, that’s $58,080. Families with lower incomes, about 65 percent of the median income – $31,460 for a family of four – will get the highest priority.

In Lewiston, contact Mark McComas at 513-3000, extension 3232, for more information.

In Auburn, contact Gail Phoenix at 333-6601, extension 1336, for more information.

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