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"Live Local Act" boosts Florida's Hometown Heroes

Firefighters on the street responding to emergency.

Since its launch in June 2022, the Florida Hometown Heroes program has made significant strides in supporting Florida's community pillars, including veterans, active-duty military members, teachers, nurses, and law enforcement officers. The initiative, endorsed by Florida Realtors and overseen by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, has assisted 6,753 families, facilitating their journey to homeownership.

The initial $100 million funding provided by the program has been instrumental in enabling these "hometown heroes" to settle in the communities they tirelessly serve. Governor Ron DeSantis emphasized the program's mission: to ensure that those who have committed their lives to serving their communities can afford to purchase homes there.


"Live Local Act" Boosts Hometown Heroes Program and Housing Affordability

Their is more good news for those that not yet made use of the benefits of this program. The 2023 Florida Legislature has approved an additional $100 million in funding to extend the program, taking effect on July 1, 2023. This extended version of the original program, introduced through the "Live Local Act" expands the eligibility requirements and increases the maximum loan amount offered to home buyers, thereby broadening the program's reach.  In addition to replenishing funds for the Hometown Heroes program, the "Live Local Act" provides a total of $711 million in funds and tax incentives for other affordable housing projects throughout the state of Florida, aiming to increase much-needed inventory. Specifically, the legislation includes $259 million for low-interest loans for developers, $252 million for local governments to preserve and produce housing, and $100 million for a loan program to alleviate inflation-related cost increases. The bill was co-sponsored by South Florida lawmakers Sen. Alexis Catalayud and Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera.

For fiscal year 2023-2024, the Hometown Heroes program features a maximum down payment assistance of $35,000, or up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount. To access this assistance, prospective homebuyers need to get in touch with one of Florida Housing’s participating loan officers or mortgage brokers. Eligibility requirements include a minimum credit score of 640, being a first-time homebuyer, and earning less than 150% of the median income in their area, according to local county data.

Published by: Lester Alfonso - 20 June, 2023
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