Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday the launch of the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program to help Floridians in more than 50 critical professions purchase their first home.
The new initiative will be available to state law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans as part of the $100 million program.
“In Florida, we value the contributions of our police, firefighters, teachers, and nurses,” DeSantis said on Monday.
“Our hometown heroes are the backbone of Florida communities and making sure that they can afford to be homeowners is a great way to give back to them and support the future of the American Dream,” he added.
Trey Price, Executive Director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation, also spoke at the event announcing the program.
“Florida Housing is extremely grateful to those who have remained committed to serving their communities, especially during these challenging financial times,” Trey said.
“Hometown Heroes will provide the financial assistance necessary to help these hardworking individuals finally achieve the American Dream of homeownership, and we look forward to the positive impacts this accomplishment will have on so many Florida families,” he added.
Melba Lugo, a second-grade teacher at Florida’s Mid Cape Global Academy, shared the impact the housing program will make for teachers and other “hometown heroes” in her state.
“I have been a teacher for 25 years,” Lugo said. “In one day, I changed cities, I changed jobs and I bought a house. Thank you for this program and I want to thank all of these people that have made this possible. Owning a house seemed like such a distant, far away dream. I am 63 and at this age you are supposed to be paying off your mortgage, but everything is good and beautiful when you walk in God’s time.”
The press release announcing the program’s launch noted that to qualify for this program, homebuyers must connect with a participating loan officer, meet the minimum credit score requirement, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county.
Those who are eligible will receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (up to a maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) was created by the state legislature 40 years ago “to assist in providing a range of affordable housing opportunities for residents that help make Florida communities great places in which to live, work and do business.”
In April, The Daily Wire reported that the 30-year mortgage rate reached 5%, rendering homeownership more expensive for American families.
According to government-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose 0.28% in a single week and nearly 2% since this April of last year.
“As Americans contend with historically high inflation, the combination of rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight inventory are making the pursuit of homeownership the most expensive in a generation,” the company’s website revealed in its report.