$1 homes used as people bait in Indiana city

Residents of Gary, Indiana saw the writing "Off the Wall" and left in droves. (AP)

Residents of Gary, Indiana saw the writing "Off the Wall" and moonwalked out of town in droves. (AP)

The next time someone on the street asks you for a dollar for a refreshing adult beverage, humbly suggest they use the provided funds to purchase a home in another state instead.

For less than what it costs to buy a cup of coffee, there’s 10,000 or so abandoned homes that may soon be available in Gary, Indiana, a city that despite losing more than half of its population retains a certain zombie apocalyptic charm.

The mayor of the Michael Jackson’s home town, Karen Freeman-Wilson says the $1 home program works. She should know, she bought her first home for $1 more than 20 years ago and just look at her now.

Freeman-Wilson wants to sell 50 homes a year, but successful home buyers have to jump through a few annoying hoops.

One onerous requirement is that all $1 home purchasers have a verifiable income of at least $35,250. It seems to me that a person making that kind of coin will be looking at the $500 houses in Detroit. Unlike Gary, Detroit has a really good hockey team, can file bankruptcy, and is the home of RoboCop.

Those who wish to live in Gary must also “bring the property up to code” in six months. This open-ended requirement pretty much puts you at the mercy of a bunch of bureaucrats that can’t even run a successful city.

Taxes? Well sure, there’s always the chance a place teetering on the brink of ruin will want you to pay more.

And, there’s always the neighbors. With that many empty houses, it seems arson has become Gary’s hobby of choice. Prospective homeowners should stock up on insurance, fire extinguishers and flame retardant pajamas.

Still, if you’re living on a fixed income and like a challenge, Gary could be quite the retirement adventure.


    41 comments Add your comment

    Rich Black

    August 15th, 2013
    8:26 am

    Dick Jones, President of OCP

    August 15th, 2013
    8:36 am

    A $1 dollar house would go great with the 0bama Phonez they already have for many of the most lazy, unintelligent, parasitic deadbeats of our society who worship that jive-talking Kenyan fraud who likes to “spread the ‘wealf’ around.’


    August 15th, 2013
    8:43 am

    This is actually a good idea. Get the people who cannot afford homes out of the better neighborhoods and have a town full of them. Then maybe people will realize how the policies geared toward them actually look.


    August 15th, 2013
    8:53 am

    The Obama phones….a program started under Reagan. Gosh Dick Jones, when will the clown parade from the Right end?

    Jamar Day

    August 15th, 2013
    8:59 am

    Why must President Obama be brought into every artical obviously you fools are fans…!!!!


    August 15th, 2013
    9:01 am

    My wife took me to Gary to see the home where she grew up . I have never seen such a slum town , The stores she remembered , almost all torn down , hundreds of houses rotted away or burned and her beautiful childhood home and the pleasant street where she grew up now a cesspool of rotting houses and front yard garbage piles .


    August 15th, 2013
    9:09 am

    What the hell does President Obama have to do with Gary, IN and the recession brought on by President Bush?

    Don't Tread

    August 15th, 2013
    9:23 am

    So where did the figure of $35,250 come from? Does money from “public assistance” programs qualify?

    I’ll take the beaches and mountains over the ghetto…thanks.

    McDonald's Dollar Menu Housing

    August 15th, 2013
    9:28 am

    Since waving something “FREE” out the window to get the lowest, most-lazy and most-stupid of our society to come a-runnin’ and do your bidding, just like Barry Soetoro did with those same sheep in 2008 and 2012, it is a shame that Gary, Indiana isn’t running for President in 2016.

    As we’ve seen in the last two elections, you really don’t have to be a *Person* born in America to win, and Gary would likely win by capturing the votes of the same leeches that (not “who,” in this case) voted for the fake American.

    Between what Bush & Obammy have collectively done to soil and degrade it, the Office of the President will never be respected in the same way ever again, anyway.

    John Doe

    August 15th, 2013
    9:30 am

    AJC is full of racist idiots. How about getting rid of comments altogether. Racists don’t seem to have employment so they fill up the area with idiocy.

    Class of '98

    August 15th, 2013
    9:47 am

    Definition of a racist: Someone winning an argument with a liberal.

    Gary Native

    August 15th, 2013
    9:51 am

    It’s unfortunate that Mr. Mathis did not his research before firing off this poorly written blog. Gary, IN sits on the shores of Lake Michigan, nestled in the Indiana Dunes. Facing the Chicago skyline, it boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the Midwest! Stop relying on the internet for your sources, and get out there and do some credible fact-finding. It’s funny how more than 90% of the folks on this thread have probably never been to Gary, IN. And for those of you who have just passed through only know half the story. I won’t waste any more characters on the ignorant comments I’ve just read…:(

    Class of '98

    August 15th, 2013
    9:56 am

    I’m guessing Gary Native no longer lives in Gary. It’s a great place to be FROM, huh?


    August 15th, 2013
    10:02 am

    I would think that retirees on a fixed income would love to buy cheap houses. Even as fixer-uppers. This town can come back. It just needs somebody to believe in it.


    August 15th, 2013
    10:05 am

    Doesn’t say you have to live there. Can you buy it and leave it? Heck, it’s $1. Depends on how much it costs to bring it to code.

    tony b.

    August 15th, 2013
    10:32 am

    There are beaches and sand dunes in Gary, Indiana. Old factory’s could attract artists looking for studios. Glass half full.

    George Mathis

    August 15th, 2013
    10:43 am

    Thanks Tony, I edited the story to not mention a lack of beaches.


    August 15th, 2013
    10:44 am

    Every time there is an issue, someone finds fault with President Obama. Gary was like this way before Obama was a senator. Take your rhetoric and shove it. Maybe we should blame Reagan for this mess. It started when he was in office. Hmmmm.

    [...] $1 homes used as people bait [...]

    Jane Did

    August 15th, 2013
    11:08 am

    Hey John Doe,

    I bet you don’t think that 96% of African Americans voting for Obama is racist either do ya?

    When the hell can you get 96% of people to agree on anything?

    They voted for him because he was black.. AKA, RACISM!


    August 15th, 2013
    11:10 am

    I get the idea of people flocking to the cheap houses and hopefully enough will be sold and fixed up that the downward spiral of neighborhoods will stop. However, the reason the houses are abandoned is lack of jobs in the area. If you aren’t bringing in jobs, you won’t bring in people.

    Wondering Wendy

    August 15th, 2013
    11:55 am

    Why do I suddenly become a “racist” if I happen to notice anything critical about Obama’s poor job performance, his inability to speak on anything of substance (i.e. non sports) without relying on a machine to feed him words, his blatant dishonesty or the (lack of) content of his character?

    Censor Ship

    August 15th, 2013
    12:03 pm

    I wish the AJC would allow FREE SPEECH and comments on more of these articles.
    I don’t know why they have to be so controlling, unlike other newspapers.
    I guess they are afraid we’ll say something they don’t agree with.

    Can you buy the $1 home and then move it somewhere else?

    Wondering Wendy

    August 15th, 2013
    12:05 pm

    If Bush were a dark-skinned minority, would I suddenly become a “racist” for calling him on his Obama-level buffoonery as well?


    August 15th, 2013
    12:07 pm

    Well Anita – using your logic, the blame goes way back – We should blame 95% of all of the problems in the USA with those who chose NOT to pick their own cotton.

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    12:09 pm

    @Totally Legit — Too funny!! LOL :)

    Peach that Left

    August 15th, 2013
    12:10 pm

    Jane Did, that is not drastically different from the 88% of African-Americans that voted for John Kerry in 2004. Or did I miss the news that John Kerry woke up Black just before Election Day?


    August 15th, 2013
    12:12 pm

    I agree with John Doe! AJC just remove the commenting altogether. It only provides a platform for hate-mongers.

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    12:12 pm

    @Jane Did — When blacks voted for the following, was racism involved in those decisions too:

    *Bill Clinton

    Your thoughts? (Or lack thereof……………..)

    John Doe

    August 15th, 2013
    12:15 pm

    Racist are the most unintelligent idiots on earth. Your logic will never be bought. Job performance is irrelevant when you got a party of mostly racists who can’t get over the fact that a black man is the president of the united states, and they will oppose anything he tries to accomplish based on hatred. And the other bunch of trailor trash racist will be the cheerleaders falsely claiming look at him! Nothings is getting done.

    Wondering Wendy

    August 15th, 2013
    12:28 pm

    John Doe,

    Why is anyone who happens to disagree with YOU automatically a racist?

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    12:33 pm

    Wendy you are not racist!! Have issue with people who are a different color than you are, but RACIST?? YOU??!!?? Nah!! :roll:

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    12:34 pm

    For example: I would like to talk about one of my favorite Singers Carrie Underwood.

    Now I’ll say something like, “I like Carrie Underwood”

    And then you’ll say something like, “Obama invited her to the white house with his obamaphone while he was reading off of a teleprompter because he is a failure!!!”

    Totally NOT racist however!! Just ummmmmm different! Yeah, that’s right….different!!! :)

    Jane Did

    August 15th, 2013
    12:56 pm

    @Totally Real Persn

    83% of African American’s voted for Bill Clinton

    96% voted for Obama

    Jumped 13% because he’s black and they voted for him because of that. That is RACISM


    August 15th, 2013
    1:03 pm

    Wondering Wendy: Are you serious?! Read back through these comments again. This website is rife with racist bigots spewing their hatred from behind the security of their fake names. They are cowards of the lowest sort and this paper provides them with a platform to barf up their nasty bile every day.

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    1:24 pm

    @JaneDid – 13% weren’t even BORN when Clinton ran — they’d just turned 18 when Obama ran. That’s called FACTS not supposition!!

    Jane Did

    August 15th, 2013
    2:33 pm

    If 96% of whites voted for Mitt Romney you folks would be having a fit. It’s ok to be racist in America as long as you’re black.

    John Doe

    August 15th, 2013
    3:02 pm

    Let’s just say IF the green people were the majority in a said country, and has a notoriously bad history of oppression, murdering and systematically keeping white people down, and said while people never had a fair opportunity to accomplish the same accomplishments that said green folks did, then once the opportunity for the green person to finally reach that opportunity and can get the job done just as well as the next person then any INTELLIGENT person wold automatically understand why the support is given regardless of color. But racists aren’t intelligent. They are the cancer who really need to be rooted of society and off the face of the earth. And twisted logic of these true idiot racists is of such that they try to cry reverse racism when the oppressed has every right to recognize it for what it is.

    Totally Real Persn

    August 15th, 2013
    3:55 pm

    @JaneDid – 100% of the republicans that voted, voted for Mitt Romney.

    Of that 100% – 98% were white.

    So, by your own definition of racism, 98% of all Republicans MUST BE racist!!

    Just going by your logic girlfriend!! Seems kinda silly when you actually break it down doesn’t it? :roll:


    August 15th, 2013
    4:04 pm

    John Doe: Green people HAVE had several chances to prove worthy of leading a country. After they slaughtered all the French women/men and children they took over Haiti, and it went from the richest country in the Western Hemisphere to … well… the poorest (despite the USA pumping BILLIONS into it).
    South Africa was the top country in Africa under the leadership of Aparti. Now it is deteriorating fast, just like Detroit, just like Gary Indiana. Now you tell me… what do all these places have in common?? hmmm
    Now as the fair man you are John Doe, im sure you will join me in protesting that Hate Crime charges be brought up against the next white /indian/ asian/ hispanic victim of black violent crime… (like the white man beaten and left in the road 2 die last month in Cobb by 3 teenage gang members) right John Doe? Im mean you say your a fair man, then prove it. But you wont, your a liberal, your all talk, no facts to back up what you claim, and anyone who disagrees with you is a “racist”. Your act is growing weaker and weaker, and people are catching on.


    August 15th, 2013
    8:20 pm

    yeah the obama phones started with reagan. they were for people in rural areas that had no landline capability and it is cheaper to have phone service that way like in central america. it wasnt for people that just won’t work to pay for a phone