The City of Erlanger has joined other Northern Kentucky communities in a program designed to spur homeownership in the city.
The Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is a federal program that improves the affordable housing opportunities for low-income individuals or families by providing up to $10,000 to cover a down payment and other home purchase costs.
Erlanger City Council has voted to join the Northern Kentucky HOME Consortium, which is led by Covington and includes the cities of Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow and Newport. Federal approvals have been given and the City officially joined the consortium on October 1, 2022. The program now officially covers homes in Erlanger.
“Owning a home is the American dream,” said Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette. “I want to thank Covington Mayor Joe Meyer for promoting the HOME program and make Erlanger aware of the great possibilities the consortium offers for home ownership.”
Because Covington handles the administrative work of the program, there is no cost or staffing requirements for Erlanger. The City will be promoting the program among Realtors and lenders in the coming weeks.
HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to increase homeownership & to increase the supply of decent, affordable housing. Funding is allocated to the consortium based on a federal formula that includes population, poverty and other criteria.
Earlier this year, Meyer testified about the success of the program in Covington during a presentation to the Erlanger City Council. “Since the Consortium began in 2008, Covington has used this program to help 681 families buy a home in neighborhoods throughout the city,” Meyer said. “We’re excited to welcome Erlanger into the Consortium so they can have the same success.”
To be eligible for the program, a borrower’s gross annual household income must be at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income, which is $53,500 for a single person or $76,400 for a four-person household. Applicants must also receive HUD certified homebuyer counseling to prepare them for the buying process and to understand the long-term costs of owning a home. Owner-occupied or vacant dwellings having one to two units are eligible for the program.
Applicants who meet income and credit requirements are given a ten-year loan of up to $10,000 that can be used toward a down payment, closing costs, settlement charges or to “buy down” the interest rate on the primary mortgage.
The interest on the city’s loan would be zero percent and the payback is deferred. If the buyer lives in the house as their principal residence for ten years, the loan is completely forgiven. The loan will be forgiven over ten years on a pro-rata basis (1/10 forgiven each year of residence).
The program has been a success in Covington, which was averaging almost 60 forgivable loans a fiscal year before the COVID pandemic hit. Erlanger applicants should contact John Hammons, the CDBG/HOME Program coordinator at the City of Covington at 859-292-2163 for more information or follow this link.