Palm Beach County is offering 100 families up to $100,000 each to purchase their first homes in the county’s most recent effort to help people afford places to live in the fast-growing region.
The 100 families who will receive aid is double the number of first-time homebuying families who applied for financial assistance made available through a similar initiative in September.
A first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned a home in the last three years, said county Housing and Economic Development Director Jonathan Brown said. This definition could also apply to someone who has been displaced from their home, such as a victim of domestic violence.
The application portal will open online at 8 a.m. Dec. 27 and close on Jan. 17, and applications are accepted on a first-submitted, first-qualified, first-served basis.
Applicants must register for and attend a virtual orientation. The next available orientation is Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. After that, three more sessions — from Dec. 5 to Dec. 20, at varying times during the day — will take place, and each will hold only 100 seats. Applicants must provide a myriad of documents, including a birth certificate, verification of employment and a copy of social security cards for all members of the family.
The homebuying assistance initiatives uses average median income, or AMI, to determine income eligibility. AMI is the midpoint income distribution in a certain region; half of the households in that specific region make less than the median, and the other half of the households make more than the median income.
This means a person who lives alone cannot exceed $95,480 annually. A two-person household cannot exceed $109,200 annually, a three-person household cannot exceed $122,780, a four-person household cannot exceed $136,360 and so on. The money will help pay for acquiring a residence, rehabilitation, new construction, down payment and closing costs. The property’s purchase price cannot exceed $568,557.
Brown said the county will definitely see more people applying under this program because the income categories are larger. This is because the $3 million allocated for the program is coming from state funds through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership rather than federal funds, which was the source of money for the last initiative.
“You’ll have some who make more money and don’t qualify for the federal program, we always tell them, ‘Just hold on. The state’s program is coming,’” he said. “We usually like to do the federal program first because it’s targeting lower incomes.”
For those interested in applying, visit the website discover.pbcgov.org/HED.