(Hauppauge, NY, July 16, 2012) – With a goal to help make the “American Dream” of homeownership a reality for more Suffolk families, County Executive Steven Bellone today announced a program to assist first time homebuyers with down payment funds.
Joined by first time homeowners Kelly and Andrew Tardieu at their home in Huntington Station, along with Legislators Lou D’Amaro, Steve H. Stern and William Spencer, Bellone outlined the eligibility criteria of the program, which provides a half million dollars in grant funding through the Suffolk County HOME Consortium. According to Bellone, applications are now being accepted through September 30, 2012. Bellone stressed that qualified Suffolk County residents must purchase a home within the consortium area and close on their purchase by the end of 2012. The consortium includes all of Suffolk County, excluding the Towns of Babylon and Islip.
“Having access to homeownership can be critical to the long-term stability of families and helps strengthen communities,” said Bellone. “Yet, for many first time homebuyers, coming up with down payment funds is an insurmountable obstacle that can deny them the chance to own a home. This program helps address that issue.” A contribution of $10,000 in grant funds is available to those who qualify.
“Homeownership is the bedrock of our communities and the foundation of Long Island’s suburban quality of life,” said Legislator Lou D’Amaro. “This wonderful program will allow more local residents to experience the joys and rewards of becoming a first-time homebuyer.”
“Of particular concern to me as we continue through this extended economic downturn, is that more and more the dream of homeownership seems to be slipping away from millions of Americans,” shared Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer. “It is programs like these that help keep the American dream alive. I thank County Executive Bellone for bringing attention to the program and I will encourage my constituents to make the most of the opportunity it provides.”
“This important program will help make homeownership a reality for many first time home buyers in Suffolk County, helping to strengthen our communities and encourage young people to stay on Long Island,” Legislator Steve Stern said. “I encourage those who meet the eligibility guidelines to apply immediately for this valuable assistance.”
According to Bellone, applications will be accepted by mail only, and can be requested from the Community Development Office at (631) 853–5705 or can be downloaded from the Suffolk County Web site: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/EconomicDevelopmentandPlanning/CommunityDevelopment/HOMEInvestmentPartnershipsProgram.aspx
Comprehensive details of the eligibility criteria, income guidelines, and other elements of the program are available on the County Web site. Key elements include:
• An applicant must be a first-time homebuyer is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a household that has not owned a home during the three-year period immediately prior to the purchase of a residence with HOME funding.
• Prospective applicants must represent a low to moderate income household with an annual income not exceeding 80% of the area median income as determined by HUD, which includes an adjustment for family size; must have at least $3,000 banked at the time of application; and have a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 and be able to obtain a mortgage from a qualified lender.
• The maximum appraised value of the house cannot exceed $322,790. The following kinds of housing are eligible: single family homes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments (co-ops). Prior to sale, regardless of type of housing, the applicant’s choice for purchase must be owner-occupied, occupied by the purchaser as tenant or vacant.
The Suffolk County HOME Consortium down payment assistance funds are essentially a zero-interest deferred loan. The applicant will be required to sign a Note & Mortgage, which is subordinate to the bank or lending institution that will be providing the primary mortgage.