From city Communications Director Av Harris:
Mayor Joe Ganim joined city officials Thursday along with Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT) and Key Bank to re-launch a Down Payment Assistance Program to help low to moderate income, first-time homebuyers in Bridgeport. The event also celebrated the home purchase of Bridgeport resident Joann Smith, who recently participated in the program. Under the down payment assistance program, individuals who qualify based on family income thresholds can receive a grant of up to $15,000 towards down payment and/or closing costs for purchasing a new home in Bridgeport, so long as the buyer is able to put down at least 1% of the purchase price of the new home and agrees to other conditions. The program is being re-launched as an incentive to homeownership in Bridgeport. Previously, buyers could only receive a maximum grant award of $10,000 as long as they made a 2% down payment on their new home. The Bridgeport Office of Housing and Community Development set aside $300,000 of funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to set up the Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program.
“Anything we can do to help increase homeownership in Bridgeport will create more economic stability in our community, and this down payment assistance program is a major help to first-time homebuyers,” said Mayor Ganim. “I want residents of Bridgeport and other communities to know–we WANT you to buy in Bridgeport, and make the park city your permanent home. We have wonderful houses in this city, very affordable options in great neighborhoods. This is a wonderful way to help residents who want to build their lives here. Even though for some the cost of owning a home can seem daunting, it is within reach for low to moderate income families here in Bridgeport, and we are here to help you realize your dream of owning your own home!”
Elizabeth Torres, Chief Executive Officer of Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, said, “This is a terrific program to help low to moderate income First Time Homebuyers in Bridgeport achieve their goal of homeownership. Owning property is a great way for families to build wealth that can be passed onto future generations, and it’s the most sound way to strengthen the long-term economic sustainability of Bridgeport. We are so grateful the city has decided to re-launch their down payment assistance program with more flexible guidelines and honored to administer this program and thus assist new homeowners in Bridgeport!”
Jeff L. Hubbard, Market President from KeyBank, the mortgage lender for program participants Joann Smith and Constance Guere, said, “KeyBank is committed to helping people at all income levels achieve their financial goals. The City of Bridgeport provides a great benefit to first-time homebuyers and we look forward to helping many more qualified buyers secure the financing they need to become homeowners in Bridgeport.”
The down payment and closing cost assistance program is administered by the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust. To be eligible, a qualified buyer must have a written pre-approval or an approved fixed-rate mortgage from an approved mortgage lender. In order to receive a grant, the buyer must commit to living in their new home for at least five years and contribute a minimum of one percent of the purchase price as a down payment. The property must be located in the City of Bridgeport and have no more than four units. The individual must attend an eight-hour homebuyer class put on by a counseling agency approved by HUD. Property Deed is restricted for five years, and the buyer must not have owned property within the last five years before applying to this program. In addition, the purchase property value cannot exceed 95% of Bridgeport’s median purchase price for a single family home. In order to qualify for the program, the home buyer’s household income cannot exceed 80% of the Area Median Income, as established by HUD.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can contact the Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust at (203) 290-4255 or the City of Bridgeport’s Office of Housing and Community Development Office at (203) 576-7221.