In the latest effort by city officials to protect and preserve affordable housing for ordinary residents, the City of St. Paul is providing down payment assistance to low-income homebuyers.
St. Paul is not the first city to offer home buying assistance, but the city’s assistance program is generous for those with low incomes.
In the Twin Cities, many down payment assistance programs are aimed at families earning up to 80 percent of the region’s median income, and complete approximately $ 15,000 in aid.
In St. Paul, qualified homebuyers – those earning no more than 60% of the area’s median income – can receive up to $ 40,000 for down payment, closing costs and home inspection. the property. Properties, which must be in designated census tracts, must become owner occupied.
‘ABOUT BUILDING WEALTH’
The program represents the city’s latest effort to prevent affordable unsubsidized or “natural” housing from being snatched up and converted into more expensive units in neighborhoods vulnerable to gentrification.
The effort is funded by $ 1.5 million from the city’s $ 10 million Housing Trust Fund and Minnesota Housing.
“This program aims to create wealth and align with the values of the City of St. Paul,” City Council President Amy Brendmoen said Thursday.
Down payment assistance is primarily structured as an interest-free loan, with payment deferred for up to 30 years, or until the home is sold. Grant funds can cover property inspections.
To qualify, homebuyers cannot have more than $ 25,000 in net assets and earn no more than 60% of the region’s median income. This currently equates to $ 43,440 for an individual and $ 62,000 for a family of four.
The buyer must register the property with Ramsey County as homestead. The maximum purchase price is $ 256,000 for a single-family property or $ 328,000 for a duplex.
NOAHS LAUNCHES A LARGE ARC
Nationally, the plight of natural affordable housing, or NOAH, became a key aspect of housing discussions that once again focused on the production of new subsidized units.
The Metropolitan Council noted that the twin cities the metro lost 1,300 unsubsidized units annually from 2010 to 2017. In other words, the Twin Cities during this period lost more affordable housing than was created.
In St. Paul, city council members have sounded the alarm about domestic and international investors buying cheap housing in an attempt to create more expensive housing or add significant rental restrictions such as fees. moving house, criminal history and credit checks.
So far, much of the city’s housing focus has been on affordable rental housing. In 2018, a city-led housing task force delivered a full report on fair housing to the city council which called for the preservation of existing affordable units rather than the production of new ones in poor neighborhoods.
In response, the city launched the tax incentive program 4 (D) – a lower tax classification for landlords who commit to keeping rents low for 10 years.
In November, the city council spent $ 3 million in a rent subsidy of $ 300 per month for 250 low-income families. To qualify, families must have children in one of St. Paul’s seven public schools and pay at least 40 percent of their income for rent.
St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved a wide range of residential tenant protections that include require landlords to explain in writing why they chose not to renew a lease.
To learn more about the down payment assistance program, visit stpaul.gov/Downpayment-Assistance.