The implementation of the NeighborhoodLIFT program, created by Wells Fargo andNeighborWorks America, has contributed to achieving local economic recovery and advancing neighborhood revitalization through homeownership. As part of the effort, Wells Fargo donated $29 million in local initiative grants to nonprofits in support of neighborhood revitalization. NeighborWorks America and its local network members is responsible for administering the program, determining homebuyer eligibility, and providing an adequate amount of homebuyer education.
Kim Smith-Moore, a LIFT Programs National Manager with Wells Fargo Home Lending, said that the program helps make the dream of owning a home attainable for low-income Americans. “The NeighborhoodLIFT program helps make homeownership achievable,” she said. “Having completed homebuyer education, these 12,725 families and individuals are better prepared to be successful and sustainable homeowners over time.”
Throughout the implementation of the program, Wells Fargo surveyed 10,000 LIFT participants to monitor their growth. According to the results, 61 percent of LIFT homebuyers earn 80 percent or less of the area median income, compared with 21 percent of conventional buyers. Approximately 43 percent of LIFT buyers are paying less for housing than they previously were; those who are paying more have only seen a $77 increase. Eighty percent of LIFT participants stated that the homebuyer education services they received will help them manage their finances and sustain homeownership.
Marietta Rodriguez, the VP of National Homeownership Programs with NeighborWorks America, spoke highly of the partnership and hopes that the program provides quality education for families who are interested in becoming homeowners. “This collaboration with Wells Fargo, our network members, and local communities helps put people on the path to homeownership,” she said. “A study of the first 10,000 homeowners created through LIFT programs illustrates the majority of grant recipients earn 80 percent or less of their area median income. The program is helping mortgage-ready families overcome the barrier of coming up with a sufficient down payment and the required housing counseling education classes are proven to help buyers both prepare and achieve their goals of responsible homeownership.”
Grant funds are available for LIFT programs down payment assistance in Detroit; San Diego County; Minneapolis; Seattle; Columbia, South Carolina; Austin; Jacksonville, Florida; and El Paso. The Wells Fargo 2016 NeighborhoodLIFT program matching down payment assistance grants may be combined with other down payment assistance programs to provide additional financial benefit and homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any qualified lender.