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First-time home buyer program to return to Lewis County

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators authorized an application for a Community Development Block Grant, which could translate to home ownership for low- and moderate-income households.

With $700,000 in funding available to seven regional counties, several families could benefit from the program, said Cheryl L. Shenkle-O’Neill, executive director of Snow Belt Housing Co. Inc.

Though county residents have been eligible in the past, thanks to Snow Belt’s assistance, the program briefly was discontinued.

In remarks before the board’s approval vote, Lewis County Economic Development Director Eric J. Virkler explained to legislators why more residents could receive awards. “We’re competing at the regional level, rather than the state level,” he said.

Houses for sale at a maximum of $95,000 can be purchased through the program, with $25,000 awarded for a down payment, closing costs and repairs. The $25,000 loan is deferred for 10 years. If the purchaser lives in the home for 10 years, that loan need not be repaid.

To be eligible, a person must not have owned real property, must be credit-worthy and must have a total debt-to-income ratio not exceeding 38 percent.

Parcels cannot be more than two acres, be located in a flood zone, have environmental problems or be a modular home or trailer. In-ground swimming pools or other luxury items also would exclude a home from the program.

Income limits to apply are set at $31,750 for a household of one, $36,250 for a two-person family, $40,800 for a three-person family and $45,300 for a family of four.

Eligibility requirements can be obtained by calling Snow Belt at 376-2639.

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