LOWELL — City officials have expanded the eligibility requirements for Lowell’s fiscal 2012 first-time homebuyer program to allow veterans who are not first-time homebuyers to apply for and receive assistance buying a home. The tweak to the eligibility requirements to include veterans who may have previously owned a home but no longer do so was proposed by City Councilor Patrick Murphy in a motion filed late last year.
Murphy told The Sun he suggested the change because the city signed a covenant agreement to support veterans and their families last year, so Murphy felt expanding the program to more veterans would follow through on that commitment.
“This idea was one small way to make that support more tangible,” Murphy said. “It also builds on the efforts of the administration and Councilor Bill Martin to boost homeownership in the city, which can strengthen neighborhoods.
Through a partnership with the Merrimack Valley Housing Authority, the city provides down-payment and closing-cost assistance to potential homebuyers. Eligible homebuyers receive a no-interest loan for 4 percent off the purchase price, with a cap of $8,000 in assistance. The loan does not have to be paid back until the house is sold, transferred or refinanced (if equity is taken). Funding for the program comes from federal dollars to boost homeownership and affordable housing, known as HOME funds.
Applicants must fall within the program’s established income limits, have a valid Social Security number, a total debt ratio not more than 41 percent and 1.5 percent of their own funds. Potential buyers cannot have cash assets of more than $25,000, excluding retirement savings. Family size can range from one to eight people.
Anyone interested in participating in the program should call 978-459-8490 to schedule a pre-application interview or visit: http://www.mvhp.org/home-program.
(Credit: The Sun)