We're proud that Shelby County administers a program to help residents buy homes and fulfill the age-old American dream.
And we're especially proud of the recent changes we've made to give program participants more money for down payments, lower interest rates, and more time to pay that money back.
Well over 1,500 low and moderate income residents have utilized the Shelby County Down Payment Assistance Program to borrow money toward the purchase of a home of their own. Until recently that program, which uses state and local funds, provided a maximum of $3,500 at a 5% interest rate and a payback period of 10 years.
I’m happy to share the news that after some negotiating with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, we can now offer residents a maximum $6,000 down payment assistance loan at an interest rate that’s been lowered to 3% with 15 years to pay that loan back.
Those changes reflect the rising costs of housing that create a need for larger down payment assistance funds and longer terms. Interest rates on home loans have fallen and our new rate matches that.
Homeowners across the nation and in Shelby County took a serious hit after the 2008 housing crisis and the subsequent recession. Black homeowners have taken longer to recover from that crisis and are now being impacted economically again by the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, studies have shown that homeownership is good for everyone. Homeowners are typically more stable and more committed to the neighborhoods and communities where they live. They are more likely to vote and be involved in their communities.
Research shows children of homeowners have better educational outcomes. They are more likely to graduate from high school and to attain some level of post-secondary education.
And as important as it is to help residents buy homes, it is equally important that we do what we can to help them maintain those homes. Dozens of homeowners each year have been able to take advantage of the Shelby County Housing Rehabilitation Program. It provides a forgivable five-year grant of up to $36,000 for those who meet certain income and other requirements.
The details on both of these housing programs are available online.
Evidence and studies show homeownership is advantageous for communities, for children, and for individuals. Owning a home is still one of the most reliable ways to build wealth for yourself and your family.
I’m proud of what we’re doing in Shelby County to make buying a home and maintaining a home that much easier.
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