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CHRIC offering assistance to first time homebuyers in county

The Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation has received another round of funding for a 2020 Homeownership in the City of Dunkirk Program for first time homebuyers.

“Making you a homeowner is our business,” said Mayra Agosto-Fred, CHRIC’s homeownership program manager.

The Dunkirk homebuyer program is sponsored by the city of Dunkirk and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program with support from Lake Shore Savings Bank, M&T Bank, Northwest Savings Bank, Community Bank N.A., Key Bank, Bank of America and USDA.

Dunkirk has set aside CDBG funding to help eight low and moderate income families purchase homes within the city. Households meeting eligibility and program guidelines can receive up to $3,375 in CDBG money for down payment and closing cost assistance when purchasing a home in the city. It can also be combined with other grants at the discretion of the primary mortgage lender. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The CHRIC First-Time Homebuyer Course is offered online due to the COVID-19 guidelines through eHomeAmerica, a non-profit program of NeighborWorks America and its partners. CHRIC is a chartered member of NeighborWorks America. The link for eHomeAmerica to participate is www.eHomeAmerica.org/chric for a cost of $100 per person. The online course totals about 8 hours and can be taking at one’s own pace.

CHRIC will access each adult family member’s credit report and review it with the family. Participants in CHRIC’s homeownership program will also learn: budgeting for ownership, including down payment and closing costs; and how to clear up past credit difficulties. They will also be introduced to realtors, attorneys and lenders to learn each one’s role in the home-buying process; and will be linked to affordable mortgage products.

“Following COVID-19 guidelines, families are expected to meet with CHRIC staff one-on-one to correct credit where possible and develop strategies to obtain appropriate mortgage financing,” said Agosto-Fred.

To be eligible, prospective home buyers must meet the following criteria:

¯ be a first time homebuyer and complete CHRIC’s First Time Homebuyer Course;

¯ be person or family whose income is below 80% of the area median income (for example, $37,650 for one person; $43,000 for a family of two; $48,400 for a family of three and $53,750 for a family of four;

¯ be approved for an affordable mortgage product through one of CHRIC’ lending partners; and

¯ the property must be in the city of Dunkirk, be a one- or two-family home and be owner occupied and be habitable at time of closing.

The owner must occupy the property as a primary residence. No liens must be attached.

CHRIC’s Homeownership Education Program is designed to assist first time homebuyers in becoming mortgage-ready. The online course is offered in both English and Spanish.

More information is available for the 2020 Homeownership in the City of Dunkirk Program by calling Agosto-Fred at 363-4180 or by email at mayra–fred@chric.org.

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