Florida Housing will receive $100 million in additional funding beginning July 1, 2023, for the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program. Before July 1, 2023, the Hometown Heroes program offered eligible borrowers a maximum amount of $25,000 in down payment assistance. Once the changes go into effect, the maximum amount will be $35,000 or 5% of the loan amount, whichever is less. This program will run until the $100 million is gone and will be expanded to include more first-time homebuyers.
The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing program was designed to make homeownership affordable for eligible frontline community workers such as law enforcement, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military and veterans. As of July 1 the program expands to widen eligibility from career and income-based assistance to just income-based assistance. So, if a borrower is employed full-time (35+ hours) by a business located in FL, meets the program requirements, and can qualify for a mortgage; many more first-time homebuyers should be able to qualify for this funding. In other words, there will no longer be an occupational requirement.
One of the aspects of this program that required some clarification was what constitutes a Florida-based business. For example, Mortgage Equity Partners has four branch offices in Florida, but our headquarters is in Massachusetts. Do our team members qualify? The answer is yes. We have multiple brick-and-mortar locations in Florida where our team members live and work; therefore, they are considered Florida-based businesses employing Florida-based workers.
- Eligible workers can receive lower than market rates on an FHA, VA, USDA/RD, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac First Mortgage
- Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount up to a maximum of $35,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance
- Down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage. This second mortgage becomes due and payable, in full, upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of the deed, or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as their primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.
Remember that other eligibility requirements must still be met to receive this assistance. For example, you must be a first-time homebuyer with an income not exceeding 150% of your county’s AMI and meet your county’s loan limit requirements.
This program was made possible by The Live Local Act, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on 3/29/23. The funds are expected to be allocated quickly, so you should contact your MEP loan officer immediately to find out how much assistance you may receive. We can start the pre-approval today to be ready on July 1 to file in the FL bond system.