Today, Governor Dan McKee joined RIHousing to announce the launch of a new pilot program, FirstGenHomeRI, aimed at helping open the doors to first-generation homeownership.
The program targets first-generation buyers by addressing inequities and barriers to homeownership while improving long-term economic prospects for families who have never sought homeownership. Available to Rhode Island residents currently living in specific areas of the state, the pilot program offers $25,000 towards down payment and closing costs.
More on a press release from Governor McKee’s office;
“Access to homeownership opportunities has important implications for family outcomes,” Governor McKee said. “Down payment assistance programs aimed at opening the doors of homeownership to first-generation buyers can help close the racial wealth gap and are a down payment on our future: the future of families. of Rhode Island and their ability to live and thrive in our state. ”
“First-generation homebuyers deserve the opportunity to put down roots in Rhode Island and enjoy the stability that owning a home can provide,” Lt. Governor Sabina Matos said. “I am honored to stand with Governor McKee as we make this announcement and support an effort that addresses the inequities and barriers to homeownership that exist for low-income and minority communities. .”
The FirstGenHomeRI program was developed to address multigenerational inequities in home ownership and create equity in the housing market by narrowing the property and wealth gaps in the state. Studies show that when parents own a home, their children are more likely to own a home. The wealth and stability that comes from owning a home can open up opportunities for homeowners, their children, and future generations.
“FirstGenHomeRI can make homeownership a reality for families who have historically been denied such opportunities to build wealth and achieve economic stability through housing,” said the Assistant Secretary to the trade for housing, Joshua Saal. “Homeownership is a critical step toward building wealth, and it’s especially impactful when we can advance equity in our state. I commend RIHousing for their leadership in this important program as we continue to roll out additional housing support in the near future.”
“Barriers to home ownership exist for many low-income and minority borrowers. This becomes especially true for first-generation homebuyers,” said Carol Ventura, Managing Director of RIHousing. “Traditionally, these borrowers compete with peers who can tap into family resources to buy a home and who benefit from the lived experience that comes with growing up in a home your family owns rather than an apartment.”
The program is for Rhode Island residents currently residing in specific areas of the state, including Central Falls, East Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and parts of Providence (excluding residents of zip code 02906) and Newport (residents of census tract 44005040500 only). Eligible communities are those with the highest need for increased homeownership opportunities. Factors such as median housing costs, household size, and income were used to determine eligible communities, which have roughly similar or higher concentrations of minority populations compared to the state average and a higher percentage of median earnings below 80%. ).
“Pawtucket is pleased to welcome the announcement of this important program where we are one of the communities eligible for the FirstGenHomeRI program,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “I want to thank all of the partners who have helped prioritize homeownership and resources like this program. Many Pawtucket residents are eligible for the type of financial support provided by this program and I encourage those interested to contact RI Housing. The opportunity for home ownership is so important, and we know that a program like this can turn dreams into reality.
“Access to housing is one of my top priorities, with so many families here in Central Falls struggling to find a home they can afford. With a homeownership rate of only 19% in our city, I hope this program will help our residents achieve the dream of first-generation homeownership by overcoming significant barriers: access to funds for a down payment and closure,” Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera said. . “I look forward to FirstGenHomeRI opening new doors in newly purchased homes in Central Falls, leading more of our families to stable housing, equity and long-term success.”
Eligible homebuyers must be first-generation and first-time buyers purchasing a 1-4 family home or condominium in Rhode Island, meet loan, income, and credit rating guidelines and must live in the house as their primary residence. Homebuyers will also receive HUD-approved homebuyer training from community partners to ensure they are prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership and can become successful homeowners. Down payment assistance is a subsidy that does not have to be repaid if the owner keeps his dwelling for five years as his principal residence.
Home ownership is the primary way families gain financial security, and home equity is typically their greatest source of wealth. For many homeowners, home equity is transformative and generational. This program aims to help current homebuyers while supporting the next generation of buyers, who may find it easier to achieve their dream of owning a home.
The announcement event was held in Pawtucket at the site of a new development on Middle Street consisting of five new two-family homes available to first-time qualified Rhode Islanders, being developed by Pawtucket Central Falls Development.
“Homeownership is often out of reach for first-generation buyers who lack the necessary down payment as well as the education and support to become successful homeowners,” said Linda Weisinger, chief executive of Pawtucket Central Falls Development. “This new program removes what is often the biggest barrier to homeownership: the down payment, while providing in-depth homebuyer education, which is the first step on a buyer’s journey to home ownership.
Full details and information on the application procedure are available online at www.rihousing.com/FirstGenHomeRI.