May 9, 2019, Michael Tanenbaum - Philly Voice
A new program to help Philadelphia residents become first-time homeowners will distribute up to $3 million in financial assistance during the second half of 2019, city officials announced on Thursday.
The Philly First Home program is an expansion of the city's previous down payment assistance programs, which offered between $500 and $1,500 to help new homebuyers achieve their goals.
With new funding from the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, the city will now provide up to $10,000 to eligible first-time homebuyers who work with counselors from the Division of Housing & Community Development (DHCD). The program is expected to help 300 families or individuals purchase homes in its first year.
“Homeownership is often the most significant investment an individual or family will ever make, and we need to make sure everyone has equal access to the long-term financial stability homeownership can provide,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Clarke said many families in Philadelphia have the ability to pay a mortgage but cannot afford to save up for a down payment. Factors such as student debt, child care and auto loan payments often prevent residents from setting aside the cash needed to make a down payment.