New program aims to assist first-time home buyers in areas flooded in 2016

New program aims to assist first-time home buyers in areas flooded in 2016
Flooding in Livingston Parish in August of 2016 (Source: Viewer)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Housing Corporation launched a new soft second mortgage assistance initiative to assist first-time homebuyers in areas affected by 2016 floods.

The Resilience Soft Second Program is designed to cover the affordability gap between the maximum amount that a homebuyer can afford and the purchase price of a home.

Qualified first-time homebuyers in 51 flood-impacted parishes can get up to $60,000 toward purchasing a home, along with closing-cost assistance. All or a portion of the loan is forgivable if certain conditions are met.

The $6 million program is a collaboration between LHC and the state’s Office of Community Development.

“The goal is to increase homeownership in the parishes affected by the great floods of 2016,” says Brenda Evans, LHC’s director of housing development.

The Soft Second Loan program provides assistance for first-time homebuyers with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income to purchase one-unit family homes. The assistance includes a soft second loan of 20% of the purchase price, up to $55,000 per household, plus up to $5,000 for closing costs.

The loans are interest-free and are forgiven when the homeowners remain in the house for at least 10 years. “They don’t have to make any payments on the soft second loan; they just have to live in the property for 10 years,” Evans says. “The closing-cost assistance is forgiven as long as they are in the house for two years.”

Homebuyers must meet minimum credit requirements and complete a homeownership education class, either through a HUD-approved counseling agency or through an online course. Participants must also provide a down payment of at least 1% of the purchase price of the home.

Qualified borrowers may receive even greater savings by taking advantage of LHC’s Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program. MCC provides an annual tax credit equal to 40% of the mortgage interest paid within a calendar year.

Eligible parishes included in the Resilience Soft Second Loan program are Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll, West Feliciana and Winn.

For more information about LHC’s soft second loan program, please email homeownership@lhc.la.gov.

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