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Op-Ed: Program Assists Frontline Workers With Affordability Issues

The recently enacted Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program is meant to make homeownership affordable for eligible frontline community workers such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, and active military or veterans. 

Some of the additional perks of the program include down payment assistance and closing cost assistance. Residents of the state can click here to see if they qualify. 

Here is a snapshot of what the program offers: 

  • Eligible Heroes can receive lower than market rates on an FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac first mortgage, reduced upfront fees, no origination points or discount points, and down payment and closing cost assistance. 
  • Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance. 
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance is available 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 deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as his/her primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable. 

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program is an ambitious plan, and it’s a good one.  Loan officers throughout the state began accepting applications for the program beginning June 1, 2022. However, we are already seeing reports of some would-be recipients still finding challenges in getting a home 

“During the pandemic and beyond, our hometown heroes–the nurses, EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement officers and educators–were the ones who kept us safe, cared for our loved ones, and taught our children,” said 2022 Florida Realtors President Christina Pappas in a statement. “Unfortunately, with skyrocketing home prices, they often can’t afford to live in the communities where they work. The Hometown Heroes Housing Program is a great way to help address this issue.” 

Indeed it is. Homes for Heroes agrees with Pappas, but we also see the need for more action. We are working to ensure these types of programs get considered in other states, for example. We also like to see a similar, national program rolled out as well. 

Imagine how amazing it would be if we had state and national homebuyer assistance programs for our nation’s heroes. Isn’t that a goal we should all work towards? 

These incentives coupled with the Homes for Heroes Hero Reward savings and now we’re getting somewhere. 

If you’re a firefighter, EMS, law enforcement, military, healthcare professional, or teacher we would be honored to work with you to achieve your homeownership goals and provide you with real savings as our way to say “thank you” at the same time! 

On average, heroes save $3,000 when working with our Homes for Heroes specialists. If you’re a real estate or mortgage professional and want to grow your business by helping make the dream of homeownership more affordable and easier to attain for your local community heroes,  sign-up to learn more.

About Author: Abby Waltz

Abby Waltz serves as National Director for Homes for Heroes, a nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage, and local business specialists all committed to providing easy ways for heroes to save on a home. Since 2009, Homes for Heroes has helped more than 53,000 heroes save nearly $100 million on their real estate transactions, sold more than $13.7 billion in real estate to heroes, actively partnered with more than 4,200 like-minded real estate and mortgage professionals who’ve joined in the mission, and has donated in excess of $1.1 million to heroes in need through the Homes for Heroes Foundation.
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