Alameda County Launches $50 Million AC Boost Down Payment Assistance Program

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Funded by Measure A1 Affordable Housing Bond, Program expected to help over 350 households purchase their first homes in Alameda County

On March 20,  the Alameda County Board of Supervisors announced the launch of AC Boost, a $50 million countywide down payment assistance loan program funded by the County’s 2016 Measure A1 Housing Bond.

The program offers shared equity loans of up to $150,000 to first-time homebuyers who live, work, or have been displaced from Alameda County. The program is administered by Hello Housing, a local affordable housing nonprofit organization, on behalf of the Alameda County Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I’m thrilled to see this much-needed workforce housing program be offered to our middle-income County residents. AC Boost will be a critical tool in ensuring that we’re able to provide access to affordable and stable housing for teachers, first responders, and other professionals in our community who have simply been priced out of homeownership in our County,” said Supervisor Wilma Chan, Chair of the Board of Supervisors Housing and Homelessness Committee.

Investing in homeownership. AC Boost demonstrates a crucial investment by Alameda County in homeownership, widely considered the primary long-term strategy for building household wealth, which is in turn one of the strongest determinants of health.

 

Benefits of homeownership for individual households include resilience against displacement pressures, the ability to build wealth in the form of home equity, the stabilization of housing and related costs, the pride of ownership, and access to economic opportunities that extend to future generations. At a community level, affordable homeownership has been shown to promote better health and education outcomes, civic engagement, and neighborhood stabilization.

Many decades of government policies promoting racial discrimination, coupled with discriminatory real estate and lending practices, have contributed to the persistence of profound racial disparities in homeownership.

These disparities in turn play an outsize role in perpetuating a staggering racial wealth gap.

  For example, the rate of African American homeownership lags behind the rate of White homeownership by 30 percentage points, a key factor in limiting the median wealth of African-American households to less than 10 percent that of White households.

“Homeownership remains the single greatest way to build wealth in America, yet coming up with the 20 percent down payment needed to break into homeownership requires you already have access to wealth.

AC Boost is designed to eliminate this self-perpetuating barrier, opening up the benefits of homeownership to communities of color who have traditionally been excluded,” said Mardie Oakes, President, Hello Housing.

Program Requirements.

–Eligible buyers must currently live or work in Alameda

County or have been displaced from a home in Alameda County in the last 10 years.

–A preference is available for First Responders and Educators, including licensed childcare providers.

— Loan limits are $150,000 for households that earn less than 100 percent of the Area Median Income (e.g. annual income of $104,400 for a household of four) and $100,000 for households with a median income between 100 percent and 120 percent AMI (e.g. annual income of $125,280 for a household of four).

— Loans are shared appreciation loans, with no interest and no monthly payments.

–Eligible buyers also must be able to provide their own down

payment funds of at least 3 percent of the purchase price and must be qualified for a first mortgage from a participating lender.

— Eligible homes include single family homes, condos, townhomes and live/work units in Alameda County that will be owner-occupied by the buyer within 60 days of purchase.

Application Process.

Interested homebuyers should submit a pre-application on ACBoost.org by April 26, 2019, to be entered into a random lottery. Households with top-ranking lottery numbers will be invited to attend a mandatory workshop, then invited to submit a full application with supporting documentation within 21 days of the workshop.

Full applications will be considered on a “first completed” basis, and conditionally approved applicants have an initial 90 days to enter into a purchase contract.

There is a preference for Educators and First Responders, who will be entered into a preference lottery as well as the general lottery (definitions of those eligible for the preference may be found at https://www.acboost.org/check-eligibility).

Subsequent application periods are expected to be opened periodically until the funds are exhausted. Loan repayments will recycle back into the program to fund new down payment assistance loans.

For more information and full program details:

www.ACBoost.org (510) 500-8840 [email protected]

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