The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program helps thousands of families achieve the American dream of ownership.
Throughout most of post-World War II America, homeownership was regarded as the standard for achieving the American dream. The prevailing belief was that anyone could apply themself, get a good education, and secure a good job – and if they worked hard enough and budgeted wisely, the payoff would inevitably be a nice house in which to raise a family.
Unfortunately, the dream of homeownership has continued to drift out of reach for many families. Now, in a time of skyrocketing home values and significant shifts in employment in the wake of an unimagined pandemic, housing affordability has become a nationwide crisis. The cost of homes had already been escalating before COVID-19 spread across the country in early 2020, but it accelerated to a new level amid the pandemic. These housing challenges created a crisis within a crisis for many Floridians. And among those most affected were the very individuals who were being hailed as Hometown Heroes for their dedicated perseverance in the face of unprecedented challenges: nurses and paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement, educators and home health aides.
These front-line workers and educators, whose commitment to serving others showcased their true spirit of service, suddenly found themselves priced out of the market – unable to put together the funds necessary for a down payment or closing costs, and therefore unable to buy a home. Simply put, these Hometown Heroes were often putting their lives on the line but were unable to live in the communities in which they worked. Against this backdrop, Florida Realtors® conceived the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program.
The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program reflect the state’s deep sense of obligation and gratitude toward the essential workers who carried the state through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the crisis is not over, the time has come to say “thank you” to these key individuals who dealt with our struggles but now are struggling with the cost of homeownership.
The program reduces the initial cost of getting into a home that is to be used as a primary residence, by providing zero-interest loans to all qualified individuals to help with down payment and closing costs. These loans could provide up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount, not to exceed $25,000 and would be repaid in full at the time of closing if the buyer later sells, refinances, or rents out the home, unless the program administrators approve an exception.
Administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program complement federal, state, and local efforts to increase and preserve affordable housing for Florida’s front-line workers and educators. Eligible Floridians are defined as individuals or families who have incomes of no more than 150% of the state or local median income, whichever is greater. At the time of receiving the loan, recipients would have to be employed full time in specific front-line and educator occupations (more than 100 eligible professions), including:
• Law enforcement officers, certified correctional officers, probation officers, and 911 operators
• Firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians
• Teachers and education administrators
• Health care professionals
Just as homeownership has traditionally been the dream of countless Florida families, home sales have long been a key driver of Florida’s economy. With median home prices surpassing $400,000 in many Florida counties, the state must do all it can to help the Hometown Heroes who have done so much for so many.
To qualify for the program, homebuyers must connect with one of Florida Housing’s participating loan officers, have a minimum credit score of 640, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county.
Reach out to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you navigate and help you make homeownership a dream come true.
Link to the list of eligible occupations: https://www.floridahousing.org/docs/default-source/programs/homebuyers/hometown-heroes/eligible-occupations.pdf
Link to the 2023 income & maximum loan limits: https://www.floridahousing.org/docs/default-source/programs/homebuyers/hometown-heroes/income-and-purchase-price-limits4c5f9ac2fb0d6fb69bf3ff00004a6e0f.pdf?sfvrsn=4852f57b_2
* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with the mortgage advisor for more information.