WAILUKU — Qualified first-time homebuyers can get assistance with up to $15,000 for a down payment and/or closing costs through a program that begins Sept. 22, Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced.
“Getting a down payment and finding money to pay for closing costs are major obstacles for many home buyers,” said Tavares.
“With the support of Council Vice Chair Mike Molina, who has been a strong advocate of this program, and the diligence of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, I’m pleased to announce that additional program funds of $200,000 are available to help first-time homebuyers.”
Housing and Human Concerns Director Lori Tsuhako said, “last year we were able to help 13 families with this program before the funding became depleted. This year’s lottery process will allow more families to apply for the grant funding in a more equitable manner.”
The First-Time Homebuyer’s Grant Program was established to assist low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers with a down payment and/or closing costs.
An allocation of $200,000 from the county’s general fund has been set aside for the program, which will be administered by contractor Evergreen Home Loans through the Department of Housing and Human Concerns.
Application/lottery cards will be available from Aug. 16, 2010 from the office of Evergreen Home Loans at 173 Hoohana St., Suite 104, in Kahului. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Applications/lottery cards are also available from the County Housing Division Administration office at 35 Lunalilo Street, Suite 102, Wailuku, HI 96793. Those unable to pick up an application/lottery card may call 270-7351 or mail a written request to the Housing Division Administration office to request the materials by mail.
Deadline to return the completed application/lottery cards to the Housing Division Administration office is 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, whether returned by mail or hand delivered.
Applicants will be selected through a lottery drawing process to take place at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria at 795 Onehee St. in Kahului.
Only 75 preliminary application/lottery cards will be drawn. The applicants of the first 20 cards drawn will be notified in writing that they must complete and sign formal applications to submit with signed tax returns of the last three years, which must be returned within ten days of the date of the letter.
The remaining applicants will be alternates prioritized in the order that their cards were drawn, should any of the first 20 applicants fail to meet their obligations or grant qualification criteria.
A maximum of $15,000 per grant is allowed per applicant. To qualify for the first-time homebuyer’s program, applicants must live in Maui County, be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and meet income and asset requirements.
The county has set the maximum household income for participation in the program at 140 percent of Maui County’s median income, which is $106,400. (The income is established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.)
The income cap as adjusted by the county for the residents of Hana is $91,616; Lanai, $92,666; and Molokai $70,798.
Applicants may not hold more than a 50 percent interest in fee simple or leasehold land suitable for residential development, or have assets totaling more than $10,000, including cash, securities, stocks, bonds or interest in real property. Retirement accounts and pension funds will not be included in determining applicants’ total assets.
Grantees must repay the grant if they refinance the first mortgage loan and take cash out, no longer use the property as a principal residence, or if they sell the property.
Applicants are not required to obtain their first mortgage from Evergreen Home Loans to apply for assistance under the program.
For more information, call the Housing Division Administration office at 270-7351 or Evergreen Home Loans at 873-3480, or e-mail the Housing Division Administration office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This county program will help middle-income families purchase their first home,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares.