The first recipients of a down payment assistance program, funded by the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond, recently purchased their homes. One of the new homeowners is a teacher with the Santa Clara Unified School District.
The program, called Empower Homebuyers SCC, is intended to help households who make up to 120 percent of the area median income — aka the “missing middle” in Santa Clara County — become first-time homeowners.
“Santa Clara County’s Empower Homebuyers program really allows the homeowner to have a fighting chance at affording a home, building up that equity, paying us back so that we can give that back to the next resident of our community,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “It is one piece of the puzzle to addressing our area’s housing crisis. The early success of this program will inspire us to continue this important work for the countless other families who need it.”
Empower Homebuyers SCC was created by the County of Santa Clara with funds from Measure A — the Affordable Housing Bond passed by voters in 2016. Housing Trust Silicon Valley, a nonprofit community development financial institution, is the administrator of the program, which is expected to help approximately 230 first-time homebuyers in the first five years of the program.
Empower Homebuyers SCC provides deferred loans for down payments up to 17 percent of a home’s purchase price. Like Housing Trust’s HELP program, the County’s down payment loan program does not require monthly principal or interest payments — borrowers will repay the principal loan amount plus a share of appreciation based on the percentage of the amount borrowed.
So far, the program has helped eight residents from Santa Clara County purchase homes, with another seven in the pipeline.
“We believe when people can own homes in communities that matter to them, lives are healthier, richer, and happier,” said Kevin Zwick, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley. “We’re proud to work with the County of Santa Clara on this program and we are excited to help put Measure A funds toward the worthwhile goal of increasing homeownership and reducing the fear of displacement for longtime renters.”
Learn more about Santa Clara Couty’s Empower Homebuyers program here https://housingtrustsv.org/programs/empowerhomebuyersscc/