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$750,000 set aside for Calexico's home investment program

February 14, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Housing officials here set aside more than $750,000 in federal funds for Calexico's Home Investment Partnership Program.

The program allows prospective homeowners to receive a low-interest loan up to $20,000 to go toward the down payment on a home.

To receive the $750,000, the Calexico City Council will have to sign a contract in coming weeks. Miguel Mejia of the California Department of Housing and Community Development said Wednesday the contract will be sent to the council soon.

Ralph Morales, Calexico Redevelopment Agency director, said signing the contract is just a formality. He is happy with the windfall from Sacramento.

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"It helps us out quite a bit," he said.

The city has been awarded similar grants for its home-buying program every year since 1996.

In that time, around 450 families have received assistance toward the purchase of a home.

In addition to the money set aside for the home-buying program, the state housing department set aside $707,000 to be used on infrastructure needs for Calexico colonias.

"For the purposes of this program, the definition of a colonia is any identifiable community in the U.S.-Mexico border regions of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas that is determined to be a colonia on the basis of objective criteria, including lack of a potable water supply, inadequate sewage systems and a shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing," according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD sets aside federal funds for the four U.S.-Mexico border states to divvy up.

Speaking about the home-buying program, Morales said any family interested in participating should go to City Hall and pick up an application.

To qualify, a family's income and size is taken into consideration. A husband and wife must make less than $23,700 annually to quality. For a family of seven, the cap is $36,700.

After a person fills out an application, city staffers send it to an outside consultant, who reviews the numbers.

Once the consultant signs off, "Now you have to go and deal with a mortgage company," Morales said.

If the mortgage company thinks an applicant has enough money to repay the loans, the final paperwork can be processed at the state and city level.

"The city is required to provide a 25 percent match," Mejia said.

Ideally, the program is supposed to provide low-income families with gap financing, he added. For instance, a family that needs $8,000 for a down payment should ask for $8,000.

If that hypothetical family's application is approved, the city would chip in $2,000 and the state would chip in $6,000.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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