Homebuyers in Cleveland can get $15,000 toward down payment (Plain Dealer)

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Homebuyers in Cleveland can get $15,000 toward down payment (Plain Dealer)

CLEVELAND, Ohio —  Homebuyers in the City of Cleveland may qualify for $15,000 in down payment assistance funding resulting from the national mortgage settlement.

Wells Fargo is making $3.7 million available through its CityLIFT program. Prospective homeowners may apply for the money at an event Sept. 12 and 13th at the Cleveland Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Ave. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days in Halls B and C. Register at www.wellsfargo.com/citylift or by calling, 1-866-802-0456.

To be eligible for the down payment assistance, a homebuyer must not make more than 120 percent of the median income for the Cleveland area. That means a family of four cannot make more than $76,100. Homebuyers must meet other requirements, including committing to staying in the home for five years.

About 300 of 900 appointments remain, said Lou Tisler, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, which is administering the down payment assistance. He said the program hopes to provide assistance on the purchase of 250 homes.

The money comes from a $25 billion settlement reached in 2012 between the federal government and 49 state attorneys general and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers: Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

The agreement settled state and federal investigations finding that these servicers routinely signed foreclosure-related documents without a notary public and without confirming if the information in such documents was correct. Both practices are against the law.

Tisler said $15,000 is the highest amount of down payment assistance available to people buying homes in Cleveland, which he said is three times more than what is currently available through Ohio Housing Finance Agency programs.

He said making homeownership more affordable is important because it is stabilizing for both neighborhoods and families.

“Home is really the bedrock of success, whether that is education, economic or health,” Tisler said “Home is where it all starts.”

He said CityLIFT homebuyers will still be able to receive down payment assistance from other programs.

“You can still layer it,” he said of combining the subsidy with other down payment assistance programs.

Tisler said though funding for the assistance is coming through Wells Fargo, homebuyers can get mortgages through other approved financial institutions.

The funding to Cleveland also includes $300,000 for the nonprofit Neighborhood Progress, Inc. to administer a program to help make green neighborhood beautification improvements in 2014 to Cleveland neighborhoods.

Cleveland is one of 20 communities nationally participating in the $170 million Wells Fargo program.

For more information, including qualifications, approved lenders and other program details visit http://www.nhscleveland.org/buy-a-home/citylift/ .

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