A Home for the New Year

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WHITE PLAINS, NY – December 21, 2016 – Community Housing Innovations is looking for first-time homebuyers who need down payment assistance.  This month, the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation awarded $440,000 to the nonprofit, and it is now taking applications from qualified homebuyers who wish to buy a home in Westchester County. CHI also provides homebuyer education and counseling, which is required for the grants. Since 1997, CHI has been operating its Renters into Owners program, which administers New York State down payment assistance grants averaging $25,000 each for down-payment assistance and home improvements to income-eligible first-time homebuyers. Through this program, CHI has provided over $13 million in down payment assistance grants and free counseling to about 700 families and individuals. To be eligible, homebuyers must have at least 3% of their own saving to contribute to the down payment or closing costs. For a family of four, income must not exceed 112% of  the HUD Low Income Limit of $96,589. Other income requirements may be found at www.communityhousing.org.  Grant assistance is in the form of a deferred forgivable loan with no payments that declines over time, secured by a second mortgage lien. The owner must occupy the property for 10 years to avoid paying back any of the assistance. “Having CHI as a guide as I walked through the process of buying a home was invaluable,” said Sherilyn Francois.  “For everyone who supported me, I will always be grateful.” In January 2015, Ms. Francois became driven to own her own home. One of her college professors could not stress enough how important it was to own property and have something to refer to as her own. After becoming aware of CHI’s down payment assistance program through a friend, she attended a homebuyer seminar to learn the steps necessary to own a home and how the program works. After some apprehension about moving ahead, she attended another seminar and met with a CHI mortgage counselor who gave comfort and support through the process. Although there were challenges along the way, ultimately Ms. Francois obtained the keys to her new home in Westchester earlier this year. Her support system included her attorney, loan officer, real estate agent, and CHI homeownership counselors and educators, who reassured her and stood by her every step of the way. As Ms. Francois said, “I have no regrets.” Potential grantees must attend an orientation and complete HUD-certified homebuyer education. Orientations for 2017 are posted on CHI’s website at www.communityhousing.org. Registration is accepted through the website. For more information on Community Housing Innovations’ Homebuyer Assistance Program, call Julie Stern, Senior Manager, Homeownership, at 1-877-HUDCOUNseling or email jstern@communityhousing.org.