Wells Fargo announced last week its $4.8 million Inland Empire CityLIFT program, which will provide eligible homebuyers in California with down payment assistance during a San Bernardino homebuyer event on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10.
The program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo and officials from San Bernardino, Fontana, Riverside, Corona and Moreno Valley, as well as NeighborWorks America—a national non-profit that creates opportunities to provide affordable homes.
“We know the Inland Empire was one of the areas most deeply affected by the country’s housing crisis and while today mortgages are available at historically low interest rates, many families are still unable to purchase a home because they struggle with making the down payment,” Celia Lanning, Wells Fargo’s Inland Empire regional president, said. “The CityLIFT program will help address this issue by providing down payment assistance grants and homebuyer education to help local homebuyers realize their dreams of owning a home.”
The homebuyer event is scheduled to take place at the National Orange Show’s Damus Building in San Bernardino. Prospective homebuyers can find out if they qualify for the program and reserve funds of $15,000 for 60 days to purchase a home, even if they have not yet found a property.
Inland Empire cities are just a few in one of 20 housing markets that will benefit from more than $170 million that Wells Fargo has pledged through its NeighborhoodLIFT and CityLIFT programs. The programs support markets most affected by the recent economic crisis.
LIFT programs have helped more than 3,600 homeowners in 18 housing markets purchase homes. To qualify for down payment assistance, applicants must not have annual income exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area. Applicants must also commit to stay in the home for at least five years and must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education session with a Housing and Urban Development-approved counselor.
“It is vital to the health of Inland Empire cities that we have programs like that of Wells Fargo which will allow us to keep more of our single family homes in the hands of owner occupants,” John Husing, the chief economist at the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, said. “They are much more likely than renters to participate in community affairs and their homes tend to be better maintained, lowering the stress on property values and public safety in their neighborhoods.”