Federal grant gets increase to help low-income affordable housing
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal grant aimed at helping affordable housing in Jefferson City got some additional help this year.
The grant, which is a part of the Community Development Block Grant, received about $281,000 this year, a 15 percent increase from 2017.
The block grant seeks to develop viable communities by providing decent housing, suitable living environments and economic opportunities to those of low to moderate income.
The extra funds from this grant will go towards a down payment assistance program.
The Neighborhood Services manager, Jayme Abbott, said single-family households can receive up to $5,000 in assistance for a down payment.
On average, the grant has previously helped 5-6 families each year. With the increase this year, 11 families are expected to receive part of the funding.
"It's always running out of funds quickly. It is a very popular program," said Abbott.
Abbott said this year, it is accepting comments from the community to determine if the city is budgeting the grant correctly.
"We need the community to voice whether or not they agree or disagree with the alignment of how the city plans to use those funds," said Abbott.
In order to qualify, the potential homeowner can't make more than $40,050. Other requirements include being a first-time home buyer, at least 18 years of age and complete a home-owning education class. If an owner wants to receive and keep up to $5,000 for a down payment, they must stay in the home for at least five years to pay back the grant.
President-elect for the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors Stephanie Biggs said her relators are aware of the grant program and help families find affordable housing within Jefferson City limits.
"The nice thing is, this can actually be paired with other grants and should be able to be used with other loan programs," said Biggs.
If all the money from the grant is not used within the year, Abbott said it is rolled over to families in the next year.
"We've really been able to help many low to moderate income people get a home, and that is our goal. Owing your own home, it's the American dream," said Biggs.