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HUD, County Offering Down Payment Funds for First-Time Homeowners

Lawmakers and residents promote Suffolk County HOME Consortium program at Huntington Station press conference on Monday.

There's no need to flee South; you can buy a home on Long Island.

That was the word from lawmakers and some first-time home buyers at a press conference in Huntington Station on Monday to spread the news about a pool of $500,000 in United States Department of Housing and Urban Development funds available through the Suffolk County HOME Consortium.

The program offers $10,000 to qualified applicants toward the down payment on a Suffolk County home, condominium or cooperative apartment not exceeding $322,790 in value.

"I'm so happy to see that this program is continuing....It works," said Andrew Tardieu, standing with his wife in front of their home on Bayley Lane, which was purchased in January with the help of the program.

County Executive Steve Bellone called the on-going program a "pivotal step" in the home-buying process in a housing market that's taken a hit during the last few years.

"I think we all recognize and understand homeownership is a critical component to the health and strength of our communities," Bellone said. "We should be encouraging homeownership, not the kind of thing we saw in the past."

Despite reported increases in foreclosure rates, Bellone said the program won't cause people to get in over their heads with mortgages this time.

"The lessons we've learned from the housing crisis will prevent that from happening," he said.

Also in attendance on July 16 was Maria Bedoya, a recent program participant who was with her husband, Walter, who couldn't speak English.

"Thank you very much; my dream is true," Bedoya said.

To qualify applicants must be first-time home buyers as defined by HUD as a household that hasn't owned a home during the three-year period immediately prior to the purchase of a residence with HOME funding.

Only low- to moderate-income households with a minimum annual income of $30,000 and a maximum not to exceed 80 percent of the area median income may apply. Each must have $3,000 banked at the time of the application and be able to obtain a qualified mortgage.

When asked by Patch if first-time home buyers who make a little too much to qualify for the program would now be encouraged to make a little less, Bellone said he'd like to see more federal funding.

"We have programs that come from the federal government, and unfortunately we've seen a lot of cuts at the same time these programs would help a lot more people," Bellone said.

Homeownership is vital to our communities, according to County Legislator Lou D'Amaro, speaking in his Huntington Station legislative district on Monday.

"It's very important we can keep people in their homes and prevent the brain drain from happening and things like that," D'Amaro said.

Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer (D-Huntington) said the program is important in terms of changing culture a "culture of despair" created when people sometimes lose homes because of unemployment.

"Programs like this create a culture of hope," Spencer said.

The HOME Consortium down payment, equal to a zero-percent interest loan, must be repaid by accepted applicants who're required to sign a Note and Mortgage to the lending institute.

Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) encouraged potential homeowners to take advantage of low interest rates in a down economy.

"All too often it comes down to the down payment, and that's what makes this program so critically important," Stern said.

Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan Berland said it was wonderful to hear new funds have been made available.

"We look forward to as many people getting this assistance as possible," Berland said.

Applications will be accepted through September 30 on a first-come, first-served basis by mail only.

Form requests could be made through the Community Development Office website or by calling 631-853-5705.

2012 Income Guidelines:

Household Size Max Income 1 $60,200 2 $68,800 3 $77,400 4 $86,000 5 $92,900 6 $99,750 7 $106,650 8 or more $113,500
Liman July 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Another feel-good idea that will backfire. First, $10,000 is not a whole lot of money in terms of a down payment. Nowadays, banks want a sizable down payment (they learned their lesson after being goaded by the government into making years of bad loans to people who couldn't afford them). Second, if $10,000 is a make-or-break amount for a family to meet a down payment, might it not be wiser for them to save up for another couple of years? If they are just given the money, but have no ability to scrape together any savings from their income, will they be able to make the mortgage payments? And $500,000 is a not much of a pot to dole out, especially if government expenses come out of it. My worry is that this will grow. It will become "home ownership coupons" like food stamps - a runaway program. $10,000 won't be enough, so it will become $50,000. Then when the recipents can't pay their mortgage, we'll fund that, too. Do you really think the mythical "one percent" can pay for all this?
Preliator July 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Oh some how I think that 1% is going to become the 2%, then the 5% and then the 10%...any way the government can screw people it will; count on it. Eventually it will be the evil 50%, you know, people working, that government will vilify.
Ranger Sewer July 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Quote:"Also in attendance Monday was Maria Bedoya, a recent program participant who was with her husband Walter, who could not speak English. "Thank you very much, my dream is true," said Bedoya." Who helped them and how did they read the Contract?
Linda Otta July 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I just realized I qualify!!! OMG! I thought I was middle class??? What is happening here?
North Fork Bob July 17, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Programs like this are to get votes.Just try and get the debt down that you inept politicians generated.
Matthew Kogut July 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Politicians, as well as the people that actually live here on Long Island, have a responsibility to help mantain and keep Long Island viable enough to actually keep people here on the Island. It is a great place to live and as a young person, I would like to continue to live here. We as a society, in order to maintain the viability of the area, have to keep on top of our politicians with suggestions, complaints, praises, questions, and/or comments of what they are doing and how they are doing it. I am suggesting that instead of complaining about how the gov't is out to get us over something that hasn't even happened...wait and see when you're the one in need of help from the very same politicians you think are out to "screw the people" all just because you think they are "inept." Yet they are the same people you have the power to vote for but probably don't because it isn't worth your time, they are only out to get us anyway, right?
Tyson July 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
$50,000 means 50 people wll get funding. That will surely turn around the housing market on long island. 50 young people will now not leave long island, are you kidding? What about the other 100,000 people who are planning on moving off long island in the next 3 years.
Tyson July 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
It's true, this won't help long islanders just illegals who have been here for a few years. What a joke?? This whole country s going downhill.
North Fork Bob July 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Matthew how should we react towards politicians who drove the County into 530 million worth of debt? Don't you think some complaining is in order?
Memoallon July 17, 2012 at 10:55 PM
ppp
Ranger Sewer July 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I am trying to understand this: You RAISE TAXES on the people who are "Making it" or who are barely, so people who can not make it, can live here? ALL Goverment FUNDS are TAXES and are COLLECTED at the point of a gun. Mr. Bellone sir, Have you TRIED to LOWER TAXES FIRST before you give TAX MONEY away? Sir, I am very sure that you are very busy, BUT What have you done to ATTRACT Business to Long Island? Do you know how much CHEAPER it is to RUN a Business outside of NY ? Why would you want to ATTRACT PEOPLE to Suffolk County who need help that they can most likely never pay back? How many programs have YOU put your name on that caters to Italians? If anybody thinks I am wrong, Please help me to figure this out.
Preliator July 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM
This just sounds like another idiotic government scam that while good intentioned will not work out as intended.
Laura July 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
It is another govt. Scam. It did not work before and it will fail again. What happened lowering our TAXES ? I do not have a money tree in my back yard. Laura
Jaguar-Guy July 28, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Sure - just like Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac - giving our tax dollars to people who can barely keep their heads above water. So, let's give them a big loan that they will default on - yeah !!
kelly bilello July 30, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Excuse me. The article is about me. And I have a job and I have been living in my home for almost a year. This program is trying to help people. Stop being negative. I'm 25 years old and can say I own a home. Because of the help the program gave me. Stop with the hateful talk. It's gross.
Mary Beth July 30, 2012 at 07:31 PM
kelly, ignore them. You have the same few people posting on every single article who feel that just because their lives have been so miserable and lonely, so should everyone else's. I am so glad this program is out there to help people like you own a home. This is what this country does best, help our neighbors when they need a leg up because when our neighbor prospers, so do we. Best.
John K. Massaro July 30, 2012 at 08:35 PM
AMEN, MARY BETH! AMEN!

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