Program encourages homeownership in areas hardest hit by foreclosure crisis
Providence, RI – Joined by Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, RIHousing today announced its “First Down” program, which provides $7,500 in down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in one of the Rhode Island communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
The First Down program is structured as a forgivable loan and targets the six Rhode Island communities most affected by the foreclosure crisis: Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Warwick, Cranston and East Providence.
“I believe that every family should have a pathway to homeownership,” said Mayor Elorza. “I’m thrilled that prospective first-time buyers in Providence will be able to take advantage of the First Down program. I look forward to continuing to work with Rhode Island Housing to ensure that even more of our families fulfill their dreams of owning a home.”
The down payment assistance is available to first-time homebuyers purchasing a one- to four-family home or condominium in one of the selected areas, and the property must be the buyer’s primary residence. Buyers must also obtain a Rhode Island Housing first mortgage through a participating lender or Rhode Island Housing.
“The First Down program is a great, and needed opportunity for members of our community who have been working hard to become first-time home owners during a difficult financial market. Thank you to Rhode Island Housing for making this program possible. With many exciting projects underway, like the commuter rail station, Pawtucket is an ideal community to live, work, play, start a business, and raise a family. We welcome first-time homebuyer’s to ‘Join the Evolution’ in Pawtucket,” said Mayor Grebien.
To determine the targeted areas that would be eligible for the First Down program, RIHousing evaluated all communities in the state at a zip code level to identify which areas had higher than average indicators of seriously delinquent mortgage loans, negative equity, distressed sales, short sales, foreclosure rates and vacant homes.
“I am thrilled that eligible first-time homebuyers in Warwick will be able to take part in Rhode Island Housings’ new First Down program,” said Mayor Avedisian. “Since the foreclosure crisis Warwick has slowly, but surely worked to get back on track. With our median home prices, low taxes and superior City services, we continually aim to be an attractive location to call home. I know this new program will help all families who dream of owning a home in Warwick a reality.”
Encouraging homeownership in housing markets that were hardest hit by unemployment and foreclosures will stabilize the housing market and prevent future foreclosures.
“For many prospective homebuyers, the biggest challenge is saving for a down payment. This forgivable loan eliminates yet another barrier to homeownership for working Rhode Islanders,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “As RIHousing builds upon our most successful year ever in 2016, we are thrilled to launch the First Down program, which continues our work of strengthening Rhode Island’s housing market and growing its economy.”
RIHousing estimates that more than 530 homeowners will be served through this program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund program. If the buyer sells, refinances, or transfers the home within five years of closing the loan, a portion of First Down loan would need to be repaid.
For more information on the First Down program, including eligibility guidelines and a list of participating lenders, contact RIHousing at (401) 457-1157 or visit FirstDownRI.org.
About Rhode Island Housing
RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live and work in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. Rhode Island Housing uses its resources to provide low-interest loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, Rhode Island Housing is a privately funded public purpose corporation.
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May 12, 2017
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- Mayor Donald R. Grebien