Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Find a Neighborhood Stabilization Program That Can Help You Buy A New Home

When I went through my mail yesterday, I opened a flyer from the city of Toledo that announced our city's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).  This is an initiative funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that is aimed at holding together neighborhoods across the country that have been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.  Abandoned houses are threatening the stability of these neighborhoods and threatening them with blight.  In the case of Toledo, they have singled out some neighborhoods--Highland Heights, Secor Gardens and Library Village--to offer a homeownership program that is not limited to first-time buyers.  It is limited by income--nobody can make more than 120% of the median income for the area (this is up to $73,800 for a family of four), and includes the usual homebuyer counseling component.  You have to qualify for a fixed rate mortgage from an approved lender.  But the best part is, you can receive a grant of up to 20% of the purchase price to help with downpayment and closing costs.  To find out more, call the Department of Neighborhoods at 419 245-1400 or see this website.

Better yet, you can find other programs like it in your hometown.  Nosing around the internet some more, I found a HUD website that tells more about the NSP. Funds for it have been distributed around the country, and while it has some general guidelines--for instance, 25% of the money must help people making 50% or less of an area's median income, and must go towards stopping the ravages of the foreclosure crisis--each area creates its own program within those guidelines.  Toledo chose to create the program I described above, but every city or county that received the grant money may do it differently.  HUD provides another site with which you can identify a city near you that has received the NSF money, along with contact information.  It will not necessarily tell you what you need to do to qualify--for that you need to contact the city officials--but it will tell you who to contact for details that apply in your community.  Like Toledoans, you might get an opportunity to have financial help to buy a house without being a first-time buyer. 

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