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Detroit launches new down payment program for future homeowners

Detroit Skyline
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Detroit skyline

There’s a new down payment assistance program in Detroit for low-income renters. It’s the first program like this that the city has offered in over 20 years.

Residents can get up to $25,000 for a down payment to buy a home, as long as they haven’t owned one in the last three years.

They'll also need to meet income requirements - such as making less than $41,000 a year as a single-person household.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said this program will help build generational wealth and protect residents from rising rents.

"So for anybody here who ever wanted to kiss their landlord goodbye, this is your opportunity with city assistance," he said during a Thursday press conference.

The program is expected to help between 200 and 400 people become homeowners, depending on how much assistance folks need. Duggan says it’s first-come, first-served.

Funding also can be used for other home purchase-related expenses, including prepaids (such as escrow deposits for property taxes), interest rate buy-downs, closing costs and reduction in principal, according to a city press release.

The program is geared towards renters but it's also open to people who lost their home to foreclosure between 2010 and 2016.

Duggan says there are just three steps to getting enrolled in the program.

Find a lender from among the 13 partner organizations in the program. The participating lenders are Bank of America, Chase, CIBC, Citizens, Fifth Third Bank, First Independence Bank, First Merchants Bank, Flagstar Bank, Huntington Bank, Independent Bank, Liberty Bank, PNC Bank and Rocket Mortgage.

Then find a house you want to buy and apply to the program at www.detroitdpa.org.

The program will be overseen by the Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department and implemented by National Faith Homebuyers, a Detroit-based nonprofit that since 1996 has assisted metro Detroiters in buying a house or staying in their homes, including down-payment assistance, first-time homebuyer counseling, and financial literacy programs, a press release said.

Detroit City Council member Latisha Johnson helped start the program.

"This program will start hundreds of Detroit families on a path to a better life," she said. "They will be more secure in their present knowing they have a place to call home while at the same building generational wealth."

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.