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Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America Help 1,600 Buy Homes

Special to the Informer from Wells Fargo | 2/8/2013, 10:11 a.m.

$170 million Effort Offers Home-buying Education, Down Payment Assistance for Moderate Income Buyers in 20 U.S. Housing Markets

San Francisco and Washington, DC -- Wells Fargo, one of America's leading financial services companies, and NeighborWorks America, a national non-profit organization which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes and improve their lives, today marked the one-year anniversary of their NeighborhoodLIFTSM and CityLIFTSM programs by announcing the efforts have helped 1,624 moderate income buyers purchase homes with the help of homebuyer education training and $27 million of down payment assistance grants. In addition, 460 applicants have a contract to purchase a home through the programs with the help of nearly $8 million for down payment assistance. More than $64 million remains available for down payment assistance grants through LIFT programs in participating housing markets.

The $170 million initiative created by Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America has sought to keep the dream of homeownership within reach for prospective homebuyers facing down payment challenges in cities deeply affected by the housing crisis. The programs - first launched in February 2012 in Los Angeles and Atlanta - have made down payment assistance grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 per homebuyer depending on the housing market.

Pre-qualified applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area; complete required homebuyer education training administered by HUD-approved housing counselors such as NeighborWorks America affiliates; and earn their down payment assistance grants when they buy and reside in an eligible home for five years. Mortgages available through the program are not exclusively offered through Wells Fargo, America's largest mortgage lender, and the down payment grants, while funded by Wells Fargo, are administered by NeighborWorks America's network of non-profit affiliates.

"NeighborWorks America and Wells Fargo have reached an important milestone in helping more than 1,600 families achieve the dream of homeownership through the LIFT programs," said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. "These programs contribute to community stabilization because they promote successful, sustainable homeownership that's grounded in making responsible buying choices."