Blair County residents buying a house for the first time may be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000 to put toward closing costs and down payments. With part of the revenue from a county-levied fee on deed and mortgage transfers, grants are going to become available through the First-time Homebuyer Assistance Program, a partnership created and supported by Blair County Community Action and the county’s Department of Social Services.
The goal of the program, Community Action Executive Director Sergio Carmona said, is to help Blair County residents achieve the dream of home ownership.
Community Action has a long history of counseling people on what it takes to buy and maintain a house.
A county-levied fee on deed and mortgage transfers — and not the county’s general fund supported by property tax revenue — is generating money so that grants can be offered toward closing costs and down payments, Commissioners Chairman Bruce Erb said.
This is an option that first-time homebuyers should explore, Erb said after a quick review of the program’s income guidelines outlined in a brochure. A family of four, Erb pointed out, would qualify for a grant as long as their annual household income doesn’t exceed $52,100.
Those same guidelines show that a single person could qualify for a grant as long as his or her annual income is less than $36,500. And for two people, the income needs to be less than $41,700.
Income guidelines, based on limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are updated annually.