FORT WAYNE — Fort Wayne residents who want to buy a home locally but can’t scrape up the cash for a down payment now have some help coming up with those big bucks.

Through a partnership between the city of Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services and Pathfinder Services, some residents may qualify for the Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program, which provides forgivable loans up to $8,000 to assist with down payment, closing and pre-paid costs.

Applicants with household income up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) may qualify for the program. Recipients are not required to make payments on the loan as long as they live in the home as their primary residence and maintain homeowner’s insurance. Twenty percent of the loan amount is forgiven each full year of residency and is fully forgiven after five years of residency.

City of Fort Wayne residents may call Kristy Wall at 260-355-2517 to complete a pre-screening to see if they qualify for the Down Payment Assistance Program. Information and an online application also are available at: Language translation services are available by phone and in person.

“Homeownership plays a critical role in building strong and vibrant neighborhoods, as well as stable families,” said Housing and Neighborhood Services Director Kelly Lundberg in a news release. “Homeownership can help residents reduce their monthly housing costs, build equity and benefit from tax breaks.”

“The vision of Pathfinder Services as an organization is to strengthen the communities we serve through acceptance and inclusion of all people and to help them thrive,” says Pathfinder Services President and CEO John Niederman in a news release. “Being able to help people become homeowners is critical to improving communities, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the city of Fort Wayne to make that happen.”

Some of the qualifications include:

The buyer must have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Media Income (for a four-person household the maximum annual income would be $55,050).

The home buyer must contribute at least $1,000 to the purchase of the home.

The buyer must attend a home-buyer education course.

The home must be located within Fort Wayne city limits.

About 75 home buyers are expected to be served by the Down Payment Assistance Program, which is made possible through funds provided to the city of Fort Wayne from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Pathfinder Services is a nonprofit agency devoted to strengthening communities by enabling people facing physical, developmental or economic challenges to achieve independence, inclusion and stability. Pathfinder Services will operate the Down Payment Assistance program.

The city’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services invests federal funds to attract and support housing investment in the city and expand access to safe, decent, affordable housing. The office also partners with local nonprofit organizations to address critical needs in the community.

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