LIFT Programs Help 5,000 People Achieve Dream of Homeownership
Collaboration Between Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America Provides Homebuyer Education and Down Payment Assistance
Wells Fargo | 12/19/2013, 12:11 p.m.
Wells Fargo & Company, America’s largest mortgage lender, and NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit organization which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes and improve their lives, announced Thursday more than 5,000 low- to moderate-income adults have become homeowners with the help of homebuyer education and down payment assistance offered through LIFT programs.
The LIFT programs, a collaboration between Wells Fargo and Neighborworks America, are a $180 million multi-market initiative designed to help mortgage-ready buyers through services that include homebuyer education and down-payment assistance. The programs – first launched in February 2012 in Los Angeles and Atlanta – have distributed down payment-assistance grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 per homebuyer, depending on the housing market.
“Results achieved through LIFT programs are a testament to the extraordinary collaboration with cities and nonprofits to get resources to people who want to achieve the dream of home ownership,” said Jon Campbell, executive vice president and head of Government and Community relations at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo will continue to support the revitalization of neighborhoods affected by the housing downturn and assist economic recovery.”
Since 2012, the NeighborhoodLIFT® and CityLIFT® programs have provided more than $89 million in down-payment assistance to help 5,024 people buy homes. Another $25 million in down payment assistance is currently reserved for homebuyers on their way to purchasing a home and more than $7 million in down-payment assistance is still available for eligible homebuyers to apply for in LIFT program markets.
“The LIFT programs are the result of an innovative collaboration between NeighborWorks America and Wells Fargo that is an excellent example of a large financial institution leveraging our national infrastructure and the local, on-the-ground organizations in our network to help stabilize communities,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen M. Fitzgerald. “Successful homeownership is about more than just having enough money on hand and qualifying for a mortgage. It’s about knowing how to navigate the home-buying process, what to expect once you become a homeowner and having a trusted advisor to consult when questions come up.”
NeighborWorks data indicates about two-thirds of LIFT program homebuyers earn 80 percent or less of the area median income and the program is helping to improve local neighborhoods by turning unsold houses into owner occupied homes.
LIFT participants must meet certain financial criteria, including earning annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median for the area and completing homebuyer-education training administered by HUD-approved housing counselors such as those at NeighborWorks organizations. Mortgages available through the program are offered by a variety of lenders, and the down-payment grants are funded by Wells Fargo and administered by NeighborWorks organizations. NeighborWorks America supports a network of more than 235 nonprofits, located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Since the inception of the LIFT programs, more than 20,000 potential home buyers have attended homebuyer education events in the following cities: Los Angeles; Atlanta; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Houston; Miami; Tampa; Orlando; Jacksonville; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Chicago; Sacramento; Oakland; Baltimore; New York City/New Jersey; the Inland Empire, CA; Cleveland; Memphis, Charlotte; and Portland, Ore. Overall, more than 5,000 people have signed up for homeownership education and counseling through LIFT, putting them closer to their goals of homeownership.