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Florida Gov. DeSantis launches program to help first responders afford homes

The $100 million initiative is first launching for state law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, health care professionals, child care employees, and active military or veterans, with plans to expand the program for other professions in the near future.

Florida Gov. DeSantis launches program to help first responders afford homes
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday his launch of the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program, designed to enable Floridians in more than 50 essential professions to buy their first home. 

The $100 million initiative is first launching for state law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, health-care professionals, child-care employees, and active military or veterans, with plans to expand the program for other professions in the near future. 

“In Florida, we value the contributions of our police, firefighters, teachers and nurses,” DeSantis said in a statement. 

“Our hometown heroes are the backbone of Florida communities and making sure that they can afford to be homeowners is a great way to give back to them and support the future of the American Dream,” he continued. 

Speaking at the announcement of the program, Trey Price, executive director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation stated that “Florida Housing is extremely grateful to those who have remained committed to serving their communities, especially during these challenging financial times.” 

“Hometown Heroes will provide the financial assistance necessary to help these hardworking individuals finally achieve the American Dream of homeownership, and we look forward to the positive impacts this accomplishment will have on so many Florida families,” he added. 

“DEO is proud to stand beside Governor DeSantis as he prioritizes our state’s vital workers, including our first responders, nurses, and teachers,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “These men and women are heroes who ensure our communities’ crucial needs are met, and we are grateful to take part in this initiative to show our gratitude.” 

Teachers and police officers who attended the event shared words of praise for the Republican governor, thanking him for the program and extended their appreciation for members of his administration who made it possible. 

“I have been a teacher for 25 years,” said Melba Lugo, a second-grade teacher at Florida's Mid Cape Global Academy. “In one day, I changed cities, I changed jobs and I bought a house. Thank you for this program and I want to thank all of these people that have made this possible. Owning a house seemed like such a distant, far away dream. I am 63 and at this age you are supposed to be paying off your mortgage, but everything is good and beautiful when you walk in God’s time.” 

It was detailed in the press release, home buyers who wish to qualify for the program can connect with a participating loan officer, meet the minimum credit score requirement, provide proof or certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county. 

“Eligible borrowers will receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (up to a maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage,” DeSantis’ press release explained. 

DeSantis’ move to help homeowners comes as prices for new homes continue to skyrocket, making the prospect of owning a home exorbitantly expensive for many American families. 

The Daily Wire reported in April that the 30-year mortgage rate has reached 5%, with fixed rate mortgages rising 0.28% in a single week and nearly 2% since this April compared to last year.

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