Federal funds turn 300 Michiganders into first-time homeowners

Federal funds turn 300 Michiganders into first-time homeowners

By Kyle Kaminski

December 12, 2023

More than $12 million from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act is providing hundreds of Detroiters with up to $25,000 in downpayment assistance to buy a new home.

MICHIGAN—A federally funded program that helps Detroit residents to afford the down payment on a new home is helping to turn hundreds of people into first-time homeowners.

City officials  announced last week that more than 300 Detroiters have become first-time homeowners in the first round of the city’s Downpayment Assistance Program, which was rolled out by city officials this spring using about $12 million in federal funding through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

“There are a lot of Detroiters who are paying enough in rent to pay a mortgage, but just need some help with the downpayment costs,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement last week. “We created the downpayment assistance program so hundreds of Detroiters can kiss their landlord goodbye and have the security of owning their own home.”

Duggan first announced the assistance program in March as a vehicle for federal funding to help about 450 people with up to $25,000 toward the downpayment of a new home. The first round closed this month. Nearly 400 Detroiters received financial assistance on their down payment—and more than 300 people have already closed on the purchase of their new house. 

In a statement, Housing and Revitalization Director Julie Schneider said the program—which is being implemented by the Detroit-based nonprofit National Faith Homebuyers—is serving two purposes: helping Detroiters to become homeowners and promoting vibrant neighborhoods.

“We are thrilled that so many Detroiters now have a house to call home,” Schneider said.

City officials said the average applicant received $24,400 toward the downpayment of a home with an average purchase price of $116,000. All of those who were picked to receive funds in the first round have lived in Detroit for at least a year, and 93% are Black.

More Funding Available

Another round of down payment assistance is expected to open in early 2024. The program is only available to low- and moderate-income Detroiters who are renting a home. Applicants must demonstrate that they can afford a mortgage, but don’t have enough cash for a down payment.

Interested applicants are encouraged to register for a homebuyer education class, seek one-on-one financial coaching to improve their credit score and reduce debt, find a lender, determine their home-buying budget, find a property, and be prepared to make an offer.

Click here to learn more.

READ MORE: Two Michigan cities use federal funds to address housing crisis

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  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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