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First-time homeowner program offering $15K towards down payment for Houston residents

Leaders say the program could counteract economic struggles in Houston and across the country.

HOUSTON — For the third time in Houston, the city is launching a program for first-time homebuyers.

Wells Fargo is donating $5 million to their collaborative NeighborhoodLIFT Program. The banking company is partnering with Avenue and NeighborWorks America to open the program to low- and middle-income Houstonians that want to buy a home. The grant will provide $15,000 in down payments for more than 300 first-time buyers. Other agencies approved for the program will also hold homebuyer’s education classes.

The first round of funding will open online at 9 a.m. on November 8th. If you apply, you must meet the following requirements to qualify for a down payment:

  • Have an annual income no higher than $63,840
  • Attend 8 hours of Homebuyer Education from an agency participating in the program
  • Get pre-approval from a lender approved by NeighborhoodLIFT
  • Plan to purchase a property in Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner says there are more renters in Houston than there are homeowners. He believes this program will benefit potential homeowners and the entire city.

"When it comes to homeownership, we're not just talking about the most reliable investment that people make, but it also creates stability for that family, and it creates stability for communities,” Turner says.

Wells Fargo’s Vice Chairman of Public Affairs, Bill Daley, widens the perspective, saying NeighborhoodLIFT will help more than Houstonians.

"The wealth gap in America is enormous, and the foundation of so much wealth creation begins with the home," Daley says. "That is the one asset that people can build, can transfer to their kids, can sell, can begin that process of getting engaged and doing better and their children doing better.".

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