hometown heroes housing
PHOTO COURTESY FLORIDA REALTORS
ENJOYING THEIR HOME — A family frolics in the yard of their Florida home. The state recently kicked off a program to help many people with down payments and closing costs to make it easier for others to share this experience.

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced the launch of Florida Realtors® top 2022 legislative priority, the Hometown Heroes Housing Program (HHHP).

Administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), HHHP would reduce the upfront costs for qualifying hometown heroes by providing zero-interest loans to help with down payment and closing costs, up to a limit of 5 percent of the first mortgage loan or $25,000.

Florida Realtors worked closely with the Florida Legislature throughout the 2022 session to create HHHP. Funded at $100 million, the program is designed to help some of the state’s most essential workers become homeowners, the Realtor association announced.

“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,” 2022 Florida Realtors President Christina Pappas said in a news release. “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.”

The program will be available to more than 50 occupations, and is subject to certain income and purchase price limits that vary by county. DeSantis said mortgage loan officers throughout the state began accepting applications for the program beginning June 1, 2022.

“There are 1,000 lenders involved in the program to start providing assistance to essential workers, such as police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and teachers, among other professions,” said Florida Realtors Vice President of Public Policy Andy Gonzalez.

According to the FHFC’s website (FloridaHousing.org), the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) was created by the state Legislature in 1980 to assist in providing a range of affordable housing opportunities for Florida residents. As the state’s housing finance agency (HFA), Florida Housing administers state and federal resources to provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options across the entirety of the state.

The vision of Florida Housing is to be recognized as an outstanding provider of innovative, measurable, data-driven and fiscally sustainable solutions that respond to the affordable housing challenges in Florida, the site says. Through its work with developers, lenders, Realtors, local governments and elected officials, Florida Housing continues in its mission to increase housing opportunities and ensure its programs are well-matched to the needs of those it serves.

“We are extremely grateful to the governor and the Florida Legislature for recognizing the tremendous housing burden that our hometown heroes face,” added Pappas of Florida Realtors. “These professionals perform such a vital role in our daily lives. We should be doing everything possible to help them achieve the dream of homeownership.”


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