I spoke with a nice man named Jesus DelToro at 925-674-7202. The home loan assistance program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is the Community Development Block Grant Fund. It is not for purchasing a home but for repairing an existing primary residence that can be either a single-family dwelling or an owner-occupied duplex used as a primary residence. The owner must be on legal title for at least six months. Here’s how it works:
If you are 62 or older and own your home, the program will review your application to lend you up to $50,000 in a Neighborhood Preservation Loan. The interest of 3 percent or the zero-interest loan is determined by income and assets, and the home must have a value of at least 10-percent equity. That 10 percent is evaluated by the amount of the mortgage plus any other fixed debt secured by the property so that it does not exceed 90 percent of the appraised value.
Applicants with an income of $45,750 or less for an individual, or $52,300 for a couple, qualify to apply for the program. If there are additional residents in the home that generate income, these numbers will rise slightly.
Although you needn’t be a senior to apply for this program, I’ll address the benefits and basic requirements for those over 62, as they’re more lenient and a bit different.
Who said age has no benefits? The older the home is, the greater the possibility of things not being to code or up to safety standards. The program can help remove barriers that pose difficulty to walkers or wheelchairs, fund re-roofing if needed, plus electrical, plumbing and heating repairs, termite and dry rot problems, security, exterior painting and energy conservation. According to DelToro, these are a few examples of what that money can be approved for.
One other requirement is total assets in the bank. If you’re over 62, your total must be $30,000 or less, which includes bank accounts, stocks and any other real estate equity other than your principal residence. Many seniors qualify for deferred loans, which means they have no monthly payment until the property is sold or is bequeathed. If there is a zero-percent loan, only the principal that is borrowed is paid out of escrow when the home is sold. If you’re concerned you can’t afford to fix your home and make it safe, this program might be the answer.
Those who own a mobile home can look into a program operated by The Contra Costa County Building Inspection Division. After meeting certain requirements, you can qualify for funds to repair such things as new stairs, porches, decks and landings. The complete list can be found at www.cccounty.us or by calling DelToro. Check to see if your town is covered by this program. It might help make your mobile home or standard property residence safer and more comfortable. It’s worth the call!
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail email@example.com.