New program aims to help Arizona home buyers

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By Jason Barry

PHOENIX -- There are a lot of hard working Arizonans who can't afford a new home.

They've got jobs and good credit, but don't have enough money for a down payment.

For many of them, help may be on the way.

The nonprofit housing assistance group Trellis, announced this week, that the FirstBank Holding Company, has invested $1 million to make housing more affordable for low and middle income families.

Trellis president Patricia Garcia Duarte said that the program will not only help hard working Arizonans buy a home, it should also give a boost to the Valley's housing market.

"Owning a home can help them become more financially independent," Duarte said. "It can also raise property values and improve the economy."

Remax realtor David Fuller shows a lot of homes to a lot of people, but not all of them can afford to sign on the dotted line.

Fuller said he's encouraged by any new program that's helps home buyers with their down payment.

"You can get into a home a lot of times, for less money than it is to actually pay the deposits to rent something," Fuller said.

The new program will provide qualified home buyers up to $25,000, to be used as a down payment towards the purchase of a new home.

To qualify - a family of four must make less than $51,000, and a single person make less than $35,850.

However, the money is not a gift - its a loan.

Home buyers must repay the loan to Trellis over a 15-year period.

The money coming back will be used to help other homeowners, according to Duarte.

Peoria mom Jenelle Forrester said a program like this could make a big difference for her family.

"Coming up with money, a lot of times is really hard," Forrester said. "You don't want to spend all your savings, because you are buying a house. You want to have something to fall back on."

If you are interested in applying for the program call the Trellis office, formerly known as Phoenix Neighborhood Housing Services, at 602-258-1659.

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