Final house in HOME grant project completed
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Dec. 24, 2004 -- Christmas came about three weeks early for Lawrence Spigner when he received the keys to his brand new brick home.

Spigner's home was the last of nine new homes for low income, elderly homeowners in the city.

"What a wonderful Christmas gift," Spigner said as he thanked God, the city of Sulphur Springs and everyone who had anything to do with his "never expected gift."

Spigner, who has lived at the 800 Carter Street address for more than 45 years, worked for many years as the "shoe-shine engineer" at Briley's Barber Shop. He is also legally blind.

Attending the special dedication for the new home were Spigner's niece Carolyn Malone Thomas, Gordon Frazier, administrative assistant for the city and project manager for the HOME program, Ricky Godbolt, who chaired the selection committee, former Sulphur Springs Mayor Aubrey Washington, and Bernard Vaughn, member of the building and construction committee.

With the completion of "Uncle L.A." Spigner's home, the city marks the end of a grant program that demolished nine substandard homes and replaced them with new brick homes valued at about $50,000 each.

The project was the result of more than 20 years spent in applying for the grant, according to city officials.

The purpose of the program was to expand the supply of decent, safe and affordable housing for low income elderly households. The Owner-Occupied Program provided funds to demolish the selected substandard homes and build a new home on the same site.

To be eligible for participation in the program, applicants must have been living in a substandard home, be at least 62 years of age, or older, own the own home and live within the city limits. The property owners were also required to be current on their property taxes and to have an income at or below 30 percent of the state median income.

While the new house was being constructed the Spigner stayed with family members.

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