AUSTIN - State Representative Ryan Guillen announced this week that the first $50 million for educator, firefighter and police officer affordable home loans will be available in March. He urged quick action to take advantage of the new home loan program.
"This program was one I supported strongly in the 2003 legislative session and I believe it will mean a great deal to the families of South Texas law enforcement officers, firefighters, and educators. These men and women deserve to own their own homes," Rep. Guillen said Tuesday.
The Educator, Firefighter and Police Officer Home Loan Program consists of $25 million allocated for qualified educators and another $25 million for law officers and fire fighters to provide home ownership opportunities to through affordable 30-year mortgages with down payment and/or closing cost assistance.
Included in the educator program are teachers, full-time paid teacherís aides, librarians, school nurses, and school counselors.
"I strongly supported this program to reward these individuals for their commitment to their professions and their contribution to the safety and welfare of all Texans," said Guillen, adding, "I also hope it will provide an incentive to continue in their noble professions by helping them achieve the dream of home ownership."
The funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested individuals should approach their financial institution right away and be pre-qualified for their home loan and find a builder or an existing home to purchase to speed up the filing process and increase their chances of being selected for the program. A date in March is expected to be announced as the date at which applications will be accepted.
Participating financial institutions will have all the income and home price criteria for each area to determine if targeted or non-targeted guidelines apply. Targeted areas are usually low-income areas.
Applicants can check the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation website (http://www.tsahc.com/programs/single_firepolice.php)for program updates and release dates. The agency is now signing up financial institutions and will start taking individual applications at a date still to be announced in March.
Applicants must be a firefighter or police officer as designated by Section 143.003, local government code or an educator as certified under Subchapter B, Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code. Applicants must also meet income and home price criteria, a standard credit check, must not have owned a home for the past three years, and must be a Texas resident and plan to occupy the purchased home as a primary residence. In some cases dealing with targeted areas, the previous home ownership limitation may be relaxed.
Maximum income for those in targeted areas who apply in targeted areas of Starr, Duval, Webb and Zapata Counties is $51,400 for one or two persons in a family and $59,110 for families with three or more members.
Families of law officers, educators, and firefighters that qualify would be authorized to purchase existing homes with a sale price up to $101,071 or build a new home with a price up to $159,877.
Qualified lending organizations can tell prospective applicants where targeted and non-targeted areas are in their communities. Loan amounts are slightly lower and income limitations are slightly higher in non-targeted areas.
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