Homeowner Assistance Program available for eligible San Marcos residents – Corridor News
Amira Van Leeuwen | Staff reporter
San Marcos homeowners who have faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic inflation have the opportunity to apply for the city’s homebuyer assistance program.
the Homebuyer Assistance Program is a program that provides forgivable loans to eligible low-income homebuyers to purchase a home in San Marcos for down payment assistance. Homebuyers with an income below 80% of the area’s median income who have not purchased a home in the past three years may qualify for a zero-rate, deferred forgivable loan of up to $12,000 . A step by step process of the application process can be found here.
San Marcos Community Initiatives Program Administrator Irma Duran said that sometimes when people hear about eligibility for low-income residents, they think they must be close to the federal poverty level.
“We’re not saying it’s for people at the poverty line. It’s for people who are considered low income and that’s honestly a lot of people in this county,” Duran said. “A lot of people are considered low income because inflation has gone up, house values have gone up, but the average wage has not.”
The City amended the request by removing the restriction that homeowners could not have a certain amount of money in their savings accounts.
“A lot of people have been saving for years, putting money in a savings account just to buy a house, so we, unfortunately, weeded out people who were good candidates and good candidates,” Duran said. .
“You know, having money saved up doesn’t mean you’re not technically low-income yet. And the fact that they were sacrificing that money and setting it aside is, you know, it should be viewed more as a benefit and not a liability when applying,” Duran said.
The program started with a total of $87,000 and now has about $51,000 after providing two loans of $24,000.
“Right now, we have applications under review. So because the applications have not yet been fully approved, because they are still incomplete, we have about $51,000 left, which could be up to four families if they all apply for the maximum amount,” said Duran said.
Owners can be eligible get help if they:
- Did not own the principal residence during the 3-year period ending on the date of purchase of the property (only one spouse in a marriage must meet this criterion).
- Single parent who only owned a residence with an ex-spouse while married
- Person who is now a displaced housewife and has only one residence with a spouse
- Individual who has only owned a main residence not permanently attached to a foundation in accordance with the applicable regulations
- A person who has only owned a property that did not comply with national, local, or model building codes, and cannot be brought into compliance for less than the cost of building a permanent structure.
The San Marcos City Council approved the creation of the program in 2001 when it selected approximately $120,000 in Community Development Block Grants (CDBGF).
The city receives funding from CBGF, which is Housing Urban Development (HUD) funding. Each year, San Marcos develops an annual action plan to request funding priorities.
Duran said it took a few years for the homebuyer assistance program to be “fleshed out.” The first program was launched in 2004 and San Marcos has operated the program under Planning & Development Services for the past 18 years.
The program had two applicants in fiscal year 2022, but overall San Marcos had more than 50 applicants. The first two applicants were single mothers who each received a $5,000 loan in 2005.
“When the program started, the loans were actually 30-year loans and you had to pay around $20 a month,” she said.
“Now what we do, we call them repayable loans, which means as long as you stay in the house for five years, as long as you don’t sell the house, as long as you don’t demolish the house, you’ re forgiven for that loan. If anything happens in those five years, you have to pay us back a percentage of what’s left over,” Duran said.
“If something happens in those five years, then you [residents] have to pay us back a percentage of what’s left,” Duran said.
Duran said there has been a decline in the number of homeowner assistance program applicants in recent years due to rising home values and lack of promotion.
“For a few years after 2018 we had a small team, so now we’re full, and that’s really helped us get back to promoting the program again,” Duran said.
“For a while we only had one person on staff and they were trying to run all the programs we had. It was very difficult for them to promote the program, to take applications and also to manage the other programs in the office,” she said.
The review of program applications takes on average approximately 30 to 45 days. Duran advises San Marcos residents applying for the program to prepare all their documents. A document checklist for applicants can be found here.
In addition to the San Marcos Homeowner Assistance Program, the State of Texas is also working to provide financial assistance to Texas homeowners who have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas homeowners who are eligible and apply will soon be able to receive up to $65,000 in assistance from the Texas Homeowners Assistance Fund program.
“We expect the Texas Homeowners Assistance Fund program to launch in the coming weeks, and the online application portal will be available to all eligible Texas homeowners who need mortgage payment assistance due to of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs said. said Kristina Tirloni, Senior Communications Advisor.
You can find information about eligibility, required documents, and the application process at the Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund. here.