Gov. McKee announces new program to aid first-generation homeowners

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Gov. Dan McKee, alongside RIHousing announced FirstGenHomeRI, a new program that will aid fist-generation homeowners by addressing inequities and barriers in homeownership, while also boosting the long-term economic landscape for families who haven’t pursued ownership. The pilot program will offer $25,000 to Rhode Islanders in certain parts of the state, for down payments and closing costs.

“Access to homeownership opportunities has significant implications for family outcomes,” said Governor McKee. “Down payment assistance programs targeted at opening the doors to homeownership to first-generation buyers can help reduce the racial wealth gap and are a down payment on our future: the future of Rhode Island families and their ability to live and thrive in our state.”
“First generation homebuyers deserve the opportunity to put down roots in Rhode Island and benefit from the stability owning a home can provide,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “I’m 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.”
“FirstGenHomeRI can make homeownership a reality for families who historically have been denied such opportunities to build wealth and achieve economic stability through housing,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Housing Joshua Saal. “Homeownership is a pivotal step towards wealth building, and it is especially impactful when we can advance equity in our state. I commend RIHousing on their leadership on this important program as we continue to roll out additional housing supports in the near future.”
“Barriers to homeownership exist for many low income and minority borrowers. It becomes especially true for first-generation homebuyers,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “Traditionally, these borrowers compete with peers who may be able to tap into family resources to purchase a home and who benefit from the lived experience that comes from growing up in a home your family owns rather than an apartment.”
“Pawtucket is happy to be able to host the announcement of this important program where we are one of the eligible communities for the FirstGenHomeRI program,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “I want to thank all of the partners who have helped to prioritize homeownership and resources such as this program. Many Pawtucket residents are eligible for the kind of financial support this program provides and I encourage those interested to please reach out to RI Housing. The opportunity for homeownership is so important, and we know that a program like this can make dreams into reality.”
“Access to housing is a top priority of mine, with so many families here in Central Falls struggling to find a home they can afford. With just a 19 percent homeownership rate in our city, I hope to see this program help our residents attain the dream of first-generation homeownership by overcoming significant barriers: access to funds for a down payment and closing,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. “I look forward to FirstGenHomeRI opening new doors in newly-purchased Central Falls homes that lead more of our families to stable housing, equity, and long-term success.”
Homebuyers must be first-generation and first-time homebuyers purchasing a 1-4 family home or condominium in Rhode Island, meet all loan, income and credit score guidelines, and live in the home as their primary residence. Homebuyers will also receive HUD approved homebuyer education from community partners. The down payment assistance is a grant that does not need to be repaid if the homeowner keeps their home for five years as their primary residence.
“Homeownership is often out of reach to first generation homebuyers who lack the down payment needed as well as the education and support to become successful homeowners,” said Linda Weisinger, Executive Director of Pawtucket Central Falls Development. “This new program removes what is often the biggest barrier to homeownership: the down payment, while also providing in-depth homebuyer education, which is the first step on a buyer’s path to homeownership.”
For more information on how to apply, visit the RIHousing website.
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