Last year, Newark made headlines when residents lined up to buy 98 vacant lots for $1,000 apiece. A year later, construction has begun on only one of the lots, which happens to be owned by contractors. Getting financing has stymied many of the buyers.

But the city isn't giving up, according to New York Times' staffer Matt A.V. Chaban. Instead it's offering to help out.

The city will now team up with about half the couples from the program to build a house for them, which they would then buy.

The new plan is intended to remove obstacles that have slowed the process, including designing a home, getting permits or, most challenging of all, finding a bank willing to provide not just a mortgage but a construction loan in one of the most depressed real estate markets in the country.

“We learned that people want this, they are hungry for it,” Baye Adofo-Wilson, the deputy mayor for economic and housing development, said at City Hall last week. “We just have to make sure they have the capacity to build a home, and if not, we will help them do the rest.”

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