Applications are due by April 26 to buy one of 26 houses in Northeast Washington under the city's urban homesteading program. The selling prices for most of the houses are $9,500 or $10,000, with down-payments of $500. Under a deferred payment plan, no payments, other than the downpayment,are made until the homesteader sells the house.

The houses are the first of more than 700 units the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) plans to make available to District families. Previously, the houses were slated to be razed to make way for the North Central freeway.

Homesteaders will also qualify for low-interest city loans to reduce the cost of rehabilitating the houses, which may range from $30,000 to $40,000.

Eligible families must have an annual adjusted gross income of between $15,000 and $18,000, must have at least two members and be headed by a person at least 18 years old. The families cannot own other residential property in the District, must have sufficient income to rehabilitating and to maintain the home and must have an acceptable credit record.

Homesteaders will be required to renovate the house within one year and to live in the unit for at least five years.

Priority will be given to previous owners and renters of the houses, former owners and renters of other city-owned Brookland property, families displaced from houses in the urban renewal or community development areas and those displaced by the city for other public works.

Applications are available during working hours from four DHCD offices and must be returned by 4:30 p.m. April 26 or postmarked by that date to DHCD, Neighborhood Preservation Division, 1341 G St. NW, Suite 908, Washington, D.C. 20005.