ABOVE: Wells Fargo team, City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Chief of Staff Marvalette Hunter and key nonprofit partners announce major homeownership effort
Exciting things are on the horizon for many Houston area residents, after Wells Fargo recently announced plans to make a significant investment in the Greater Houston area that will give eligible individuals the opportunity to experience the joy of homeownership.
Wells Fargo has partnered with NeighborWorks® America and its local network members to announce a NeighborhoodLIFT® program expansion to Houston, which involves a $6.1 million commitment by Wells Fargo to boost local homeownership.
The NeighborhoodLIFT® program will offer homebuyer education plus $15,000 down payment assistance grants to eligible Houston homebuyers, with special parameters for veterans, military, teachers and first responders.
“Houston is a special place to call home, and this investment will help our local community of hardworking Houstonians with big dreams for the future,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We appreciate the efforts of Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America and its local affiliates to bring the NeighborhoodLIFT program to Houston again and help put homeownership within reach for hundreds of households.”
The 2019 Houston NeighborhoodLIFT program follows the 2012 program that helped 422 individuals become homeowners with a $9 million philanthropic commitment by Wells Fargo. Overall, Wells Fargo has conducted 68 LIFT program events across the U.S. since 2012, creating more than 20,000 homeowners.
“The NeighborhoodLIFT program is another example of our commitment to Houston and our efforts to build better communities through sustainable homeownership,” said David Miree, Wells Fargo Texas lead region president. “The program will help hardworking families and individuals get on the path to achieve successful and sustainable homeownership.”
To be eligible to reserve a $15,000 down payment assistance grant, annual incomes must not exceed 80 percent of the local area median income in Houston, which is about $59,900 for up to a family of four. In addition, there are special parameters for eligible military service members and veterans, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, who can earn up to 100 percent of the area median income, which is about $74,900 for up to a family of four in Houston, and may obtain $17,500 down payment assistance grants.
“This innovative public-private collaboration will create more than 290 Houston homeowners,” said Lisa Hasegawa, western region vice president with NeighborWorks America. “The required homebuyer education classes provided by certified professionals better prepare NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyers to achieve their goal of sustainable homeownership.”
NeighborWorks America network members such as Avenue, Fifth Ward CRC and the Tejano Center will administer the $15,000 down payment assistance grants, determine eligibility and provide homebuyer education.
“We’re ready to help more families become homeowners with the support of NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyer education and down payment assistance,” said Mary Lawler, executive director of Avenue. “We are pleased to join Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America and our local partners to make homeownership more affordable, achievable and sustainable.”
Approved homebuyers must be approved for home financing with an eligible lender and be in contract to purchase a home in the city of Houston. To reserve the full grant amount, participants buying a primary residence with the NeighborhoodLIFT program must commit to live in the home for five years. Participating homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any participating lender. Approved homebuyers will have up to 60 days to finalize a contract to purchase a home in the city of Houston.
In addition, Wells Fargo has committed $325,000 for up to 650 consumers to receive complimentary face-to-face homeownership counseling. Interested homebuyers can receive a voucher at the Houston NeighborhoodLIFT launch event that will provide in-person homeownership counseling at no charge with a participating HUD-approved housing counselor in Houston. The homeownership counseling grant program is a resource in addition to the homebuyer education required for a NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance grant.
Interested homebuyers are encouraged to register beginning Monday, March 4 at www.wellsfargo.com/lift to attend a free event scheduled on Friday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Reliant Park, located at 8686 Kirby Dr., Houston. Walk-ins also are welcome, while grants are available.