Wells Fargo Offers Down Payment Assistance

From left to right: Michele Byrd, Director of Housing & Community Development, City of Oakland; Mayor Michael Sweeney, City of Hayward; David Fraser, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Federal Glover of Contra Costa County; Sheri Powers, Director of The Homeownership Center, the Unity Council; Gilda Gonzales, CEO, The Unity Council; Jim Foley, President of Wells Fargo’s Greater Bay Area Region; Mayor Pro Tem Wade Harper, City of Antioch; and Pastor Gerald Agee, Friendship Christian Center. Photo by Justin Halgren.

By Ashley Chambers Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, announced this week it is launching CityLIFT, which will offer down payment assistance to potential homebuyers. “Today, despite low home prices and historically low interest rates, many families are still unable to purchase a home because they struggle with making the down payment,” said Jim Foley, Wells Fargo’s regional president for the Greater Bay Area. In collaboration with nine cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, NeighborWorks America, and NeighborWorks affiliate the Unity Council, CityLIFT will help eligible first-time and re-entering homebuyers, providing down payment assistance of $20,000 per homebuyer. The program will assist those interested in purchasing and living in a home in the cities of Antioch, Bay Point, Brentwood, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, Pittsburg and Richmond. “The CityLIFT program will help address this issue for homebuyers by providing down payment assistance and help revitalize some of our communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties most deeply affected by the housing crisis,” said Foley. To qualify for down payment assistance, applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area, which is about $112,200 for a family of four. Applicants must also agree to an eight-hour homebuyer education session with a HUD-approved counselor such as the Unity Council; commit to stay in the home for five years; and qualify for a first mortgage on the property. “We teach people how to buy homes the right way,” Sherri Powers, Director of the Homeownership Center at the Unity Council, said at a press conference Tuesday. “Well-prepared homeowners make successful homeowners; successful homeowners make great neighborhoods and revitalize communities, ” she said. Funding for East Bay CityLIFT includes $5 million for down payment assistance grants. Fee homebuyer workshops will be held on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. In addition, prospective homebuyers may stop by the Wells Fargo Affordable Home Tour viewing center to preview featured homes available for sale in local neighborhoods. Register at www.wellsfargo.com/citylift by Wednesday, Dec. 5. Pre-registration is encouraged, although walk-ins are welcome. Information is available on East Bay CityLIFT at 1-866-802-0456.

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