Charles County Gov. Announces New Neighborhood Conservation Program

LA PLATA, Md. (Dec. 1, 2009)—Charles County has been awarded $1,100,000 for the Neighborhood Conservation Initiative (NCI) Down Payment Assistance Program. The NCI program works to encourage affordable housing in targeted neighborhoods in Charles County most affected by foreclosures and sub-prime lending.

“This program will benefit areas in Charles County that have been hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis by giving for qualified homebuyers an opportunity to purchase vacant foreclosed homes,” said Commissioner President Wayne Cooper.

Commissioner Reuben B. Collins, II (District 3) said, “Charles County ranks third in the State’s foreclosure index of jurisdictions that have been affected by foreclosures. Through the NCI program, we can increase affordable housing in neighborhoods where the needs are greatest, and make a solid investment in our communities.”

“It’s exciting that this opportunity is presenting itself to take some of the homes in our hardest hit foreclosure areas and turn them back into owner-occupied homes with qualified homebuyers. Owner-occupied homes tend to be better maintained and the owners and occupants tend to have stronger connections with the community to make a stronger community,” said Commissioner Samuel N. Graves, Jr. (District 1).

The Charles County NCI program, administered by the Charles County Department of Community Services Housing Authority, provides down payment assistance up to $39,999 per home buyer at 50% of area median income and up to $14,999 per home buyer at 120% of area median income for home ownership in certain targeted neighborhoods within the County. Dwellings considered for the program are subject to approval, and must be foreclosed and vacant. The property purchase price must be at a discount equal to 1% less than the current appraised fair market value based on an accepted appraisal.

Applicants must meet certain requirements: be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien; qualify for a fixed-rate mortgage (min 30 years) with a lender participating in the NCI program; complete eight hours of HUD approved housing counseling; and meet established income eligibility requirements.

Those participants that are first time homebuyers and participating in the Charles County NCI Down Payment Assistance Program may also submit an application for additional financial assistance under the Charles County Settlement Expense Loan Program (SELP). Eligible applicants may receive a SELP loan of up to $6,000 at 5% interest, which accrues for the first year only. The loan is re-paid when the home is resold, refinanced, or transferred.

Charles County Director of Community Services, Karen Cieplak commented, "The Department of Community Services is pleased to offer this program with significant down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible persons. This is a great opportunity to assist communities by helping families to move into vacant homes."

For a list of participating lenders, or for additional information on the NCI program, please call the Charles County Housing Authority at 301-934-0119 or 301-870-3388 ext. 5119.

Source: Charles County Government

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