GARY, Ind. (CBS) — The city of Gary has six new home-owners today chosen in a lottery to purchase homes for a dollar each.

Sylvia and Milton were Willis were among the first-time homeowners at city hall in Gary and they are about to get to work rehabbing.

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“It means more than you can know. I am so excited. I have always wanted my own home,” said Sylvia.

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“I feel like this program will make other people see the city in a better light,” said Milton.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says the dollar home program is about rebuilding the tax base and removing blight.

“This is not only a source of encouragement to the Willises, but it is a source of encouragement to the other neighbors on that block,” said Freeman-Wilson.

Sylvia and Milton Wilis figure they will spend about $30,000 on rehab. To be eligible, those interested in getting a dollar home – and there were more than 400 applicants – must meet income requirements, be residents of Gary and prove they can bring it up to code within six months. They also have to live in the home and stay there for five years, at which time they’re granted full ownership.

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The mayor bought a dollar home some years ago when HUD was doing a similar program. She says she hopes to award 50-100 dollar homes each year in the future.