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County offers down payment assistance for first-time home buyers

By Staff | Nov 5, 2009

“Through this critically needed program, we’ll give a lifetime opportunity to new homeowners, and I’m thrilled that the county is able to help,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

WAILUKU — A new county program will help qualified first-time home buyers with down payment and/or closing cost assistance in the purchase of their homes.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares said, “This is an exciting opportunity for those whose only obstacle to owning their first home is that much-needed down payment.

“I appreciate the diligence of Lori Tsuhako, director of the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, and JoAnn Ridao, deputy director of the department, and their staff for making this new program a reality. Their hard work will give first-time home buyers benefitting from these grants a chance to move into homes they can call their own.”

Evergreen Home Loans has been contracted to administer the First-Time Home Buyer’s Grant (FTHBG) program through the county Department of Housing and Human Concerns.

A total of $180,000 from the county’s General Fund is allocated for this new program intended to help those purchasing a home for the first time.

A maximum of $15,000 per grant is allowed. To qualify for the FTHBG program, applicants must reside in the County of Maui at the time of application; be at least 18 years of age; be a United States citizen or resident alien; be a first-time home buyer; meet income and asset requirements; and not have a greater than 50 percent interest in fee simple or leasehold land suitable for dwelling purposes.

No payment will be required unless one of the following events occur: a) grantee refinances the first mortgage loan; b) grantee no longer uses the property as the borrower’s principle residence; or c) borrower sells the property.

Applicants are not required to obtain their first mortgage from Evergreen Home Loans to apply for assistance under the FTHBG program.

The county has set the maximum household income for participation in the program at 140 percent of the county’s median income, as established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is $105,560.

The median income, as adjusted by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, for the residents of Hana is $90,888; Lanai, $91,938; and Molokai $70,238.

Grant applications are available from the office of Evergreen Home Loans at 173 Hoohana St., Suite 104, in Kahului. Their office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information, call Evergreen Home Loans at 873-3480.