The Honest Broker: Hometown Heroes Program & Buying A First Home
By: Diane Lott, Broker
Paradise Found Realty
Elevated pricing in the real estate market has prevented our hometown heroes from living in the communities in which they served. To address this critical issue, Gov R. DeSantis and our legislators passed a bill, named the Live Local Act and a part of this Act is the “Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program”. The program was to help Floridians in over 50 critical professions purchase their first home. The Hometown Heroes Housing Program will be available to Floridians including law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans. Including this $100 million program, a total of nearly $363 million has been appropriated for affordable and workforce housing in the 2022-2023 budget, the highest total in 15 years.
The program is administered by the Florida Housing and Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) and has the highest and most inclusive eligibility of all Florida Housing down payment assistance programs. The program is to expand Florida’s existing housing programs to reach critical workers and those who have served our country.
Florida Housing received $100 million from the state Legislature to establish and administer the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program. This program is set to aid essential community workers in 50 different eligible professions with down payment and closing cost assistance to help first-time, income-qualified homebuyers purchase a primary residence in the communities they serve. Celebrating the value that owning a home brings to families, communities, and neighborhoods across America.
To qualify for this program, homebuyers must connect with a participating loan officer, have a minimum credit score of 640, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county. Eligible borrowers will receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (up to a maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.
If you are interested in exploring this program further, please go to: https://www.floridahousing.org/programs/homebuyer-overview-page/hometown-heroes.
After the initial launch of Hometown Heroes in June 2022, and in just one year, all the funds initially allocated to it were expended, providing 6,753 families with the necessary financial assistance to purchase their first home. After witnessing this success, the Florida Legislature allocated $100 million in additional funding for the program through the Live Local Act.
All first-time homebuyers that feel that they can participate in this program should speak to a mortgage lender to see if they can access it.
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