"The only time I've seen someone from the city out here was when there was a code enforcement guy telling me I had too much dirt next to my driveway," Jerry Ptacek said.
The mission bought two of the Dollar Homes residences for $2,000 in 2001 and turned them into low-income rental housing for homeless people with HIV.
Because of the grants he receives from HUD to help subsidize the program, Kalke said he has to provide extensive documentation every month on how he spends the money. His homes are two of only three that were sold to nonprofit groups in the city.
"Sometimes the government doesn't do things very brightly, and the people who are supposed to be helped end up being hurt," Kalke said. "This kind of initiative could be supported in a much bigger way for less money."
The Ptaceks say they wish they'd never tried to buy a home. They would have been better off renting, they said, and are now trying to qualify for federal rental assistance funds.
Sitting in the living room under a portrait of Jesus, "The Jerry Springer Show" blaring on the TV, the couple look defeated.
"I've started going back to church," Carol Ptacek says. "This whole thing has just been so hard. Praying helps, but it doesn't pay our bills."
Jerry stares blankly at his wife as she talks, leaning against a shelf full of DVDs, many of them Disney films. Their economic situation is so bad, she explains, that the Ptaceks have started watching their friends' kids in exchange for groceries.