HomeFirst Down payment assistance program now offers first-time buyers support of up to $100,000
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New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development First batch assistance program It will now offer up to $100,000 to support eligible first-time homebuyers buying a home in New York City.
“Increasing the maximum amount we can offer to a buyer, to 100,000, gives buyers more support and opens them up more choices in terms of what they can afford, how they can negotiate in the market and which neighborhoods they can experience access,” said Tamika Spencer, HomeFirst Program Director for Help on Down payment with HPD.
The expansion more than doubles the amount of financial assistance available to first-time homebuyers, where $40,000 used to be the support provided. This will really help families get access to the market and be competitive in terms of buying, Spencer said.
“This major expansion of down payment support is a huge equity and diversity win because it addresses one of the biggest barriers to home ownership for low-income families and families of color,” he said. HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, in a statement. “Putting more families to own a home, building wealth for their children, and owning their communities is a key strategy for achieving our vision of a more equitable New York City.”
Because of the enhanced program, more homes will become Affordable for low-income first-time homebuyers in particular in the neighborhoods Home prices have historically made home ownership out of reach for low-income families.
“Home ownership is very important to us here at the agency,” Spencer said. “Our goal is to expand home ownership and create opportunities for New Yorkers to establish their roots in the city, and we believe every New Yorker deserves a real opportunity to own a home and a chance to build justice within their neighborhood.”
Expansion achieves the main goal of the city Where do we live in New York City? A fair housing plan to empower low-income New Yorkers with more housing opportunities in well-resourced neighborhoods Jeremy House, spokesperson New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
“We also see this as an equity issue because First-time home buyers are more likely to be people of color“Thus, this is a strategy for building wealth in black and brown communities and providing housing opportunities in well-resourced neighborhoods,” House said, in an email.
Historically New York City has low home ownership rates, but According to a 2020 study According to the Brookings Institution, these rates lag further for people of color.
“We see this as an equity issue because first home buyers are more likely to be people of color,” House said. “So this is a strategy for building wealth in black and brown communities and providing housing opportunities in well-resourced neighborhoods.”
According to a study by the Pew Research CenterBlacks and Hispanics also face additional challenges in obtaining loans to purchase homes.
“The expansion will provide breathing space for home buyers who can use it to obtain more favorable loan terms,” House said.
Through HomeFirst, first-time homebuyers of one- to four-family homes in the five boroughs can get financial assistance for their down payment or closing home costs.
“Qualified applicants can earn up to 80 percent of the median income in the area, or $86,000 for a family of three,” House said. “HomeFirst participants must complete a homebuyer education course, contribute purchase savings and live in their home for up to 15 years to receive the full benefits of loan forgiveness through the program.”
HomeFirst people have helped
Jiawei Ren is a 29-year-old Asian American immigrant who was able to purchase a home for the first time with the help of HomeFirst’s Down Payment Assistance Program. He became the owner of a one-bedroom co-op apartment in Briarwood, Queens on June 1.
During his seven years in the United States, Wren moved six times. Every time he moved, Wren had to update the immigration office with his new address.
“At first it was difficult because I didn’t understand English, and didn’t know how to change the address online, so I used to visit the lawyers’ office to ask them to update it,” Ren said. They often charge $100 for title updates.
He was also worried that he would not receive important mail because his address changed frequently.
“Rent doesn’t make me feel safe,” Ren said. Adding, “I really wanted to have my own place and feel at home after work.”
When Wren started looking to own a home, he realized that he could only afford the cheapest apartment in town. After searching on Google, he found an Asain community organization that told him about HomeFirst.
Ren found an apartment that he qualified for based on his own savings. With the help of HomeFirst, he managed to renovate the entire apartment.
“I used to live in a basement where there is no sunlight, so after moving into my own apartment, I enjoy three bright windows,” Rin said. “I can bathe in the sun, the apartment is much quieter, and it is very comfortable. I get my own mailbox, and I won’t have much difficulty pushing this gadget.”
Ren said this was the smartest investment he could make, especially since he was now able to put his monthly income into a regular and growing asset and not waste his money on higher rent payments.
Siobhan Duncan, 39, bought her first home in Brooklyn on September 1. She wanted to be a homeowner since she was a teenager.
Duncan worked for eight years at New York City Health and Hospital in Coney Island. She was saving up to buy a house for ten. I took 401k cash and other savings to buy a house. She said she couldn’t do it without help from HomeFirst.
Duncan was inspired by her family to become a homeowner.
Duncan’s father moved to New York in 1970 from Grenada, a small island in the Caribbean. He worked on the subway network and bought his first home in 1982. He bought his second home in 1990.
“Since then, we’ve all been born and raised in a house, and that’s all we know,” Duncan said.
But Duncan has been renting for the past 10 years, while paying off student loans. With her loans almost paid off, Duncan was finally able to buy a home.
“It feels great,” Duncan said. “Your mortgage is less than you’ll pay in rent, which is a better financial decision to own.”
HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance covered 50 percent of Duncan’s closing costs.
“It was a tremendous help,” Duncan said.
Spencer said HomeFirst’s Advance Payment Assistance Program is seeing more millennials discover and access help. The program also supports low-income singles and people in the civil service industry including transportation workers and teachers.
“It’s the average person who struggles to make home ownership happen in the city, and we all know it’s very difficult, so we really help a wide range of individuals and families,” Spencer said.
Advancement of equitable housing
The New York City Neighborhood Housing Services manages the program on behalf of the city and is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
With the new expansion, Spencer said, lower-income buyers should be more competitive in the market.
“Increasing home ownership opportunities for New Yorkers is a major goal of Mayor de Blasio Your home in New York City plans to help New Yorkers acquire, buy, and maintain their homes,” House said. “In addition to building affordable housing, The city is working to develop fair housing by working to ensure wider access to quality, affordable housing in a variety of thriving neighborhoods.”
Since launching the program in 2004, HomeFirst has helped more than 3,000 families become homeowners across the five boroughs.
“We hope it (expansion) will encourage community investment and encourage people to take root and stay in the communities,” Spencer said.