THDA grant will help with downpayment assistance in Oak Ridge
April 9, 2021 – Tennessee Housing Development Agency has awarded a $106,000 HOME Program grant to the Oak Ridge Housing Authority that will be used to help low-income families purchase a new home.
The Oak Ridge Housing Authority will use the funding to provide assistance up to $14,999 to cover downpayment and closing costs for eligible first-time homebuyers living in the city limits.
“A downpayment is often the biggest hurdle to overcome for working families wanting to buy a home,” THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said. “These funds will allow first-time homebuyers who would otherwise be able to afford a mortgage payment to overcome that obstacle.”
ORHA Executive Director Maria Catron said the grant will be used to help low-to-moderate income families, with the exact amount awarded based on the gap needed to cover the buyer’s downpayment and closing costs.
“A majority of lower-income buyers do not have the savings necessary for a downpayment, or to pay the closing costs,” Catron said “So they don't feel like they can buy. We feel like this will help open the door to for homeownership for people.”
Eligible residents must earn 80 percent of the Area Media Income for Oak Ridge to qualify for the program. The purchase price of an existing home is limited at $168,000, while the purchase limit for new construction is $227,000. The homes must be located in Oak Ridge and be able to pass a home inspection. Buyers are also required to put in a minimum of one percent of the home’s value, with any costs outside of the closing costs qualifying.
Catron said the housing authority has begun advertising the new program and is also working with current public housing residents to identify eligible applicants.
Catron said ORHA hopes to help at least seven households purchase a home with the grant funding.
The HOME program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered in part in Tennessee by THDA. During the most recent funding round, THDA awarded 22 competitive HOME grants statewide totaling $6.9 million.
HOME grants must be used for the production, preservation, or rehabilitation of affordable housing for low and very low income families and individuals.
Photo by Wes Bunch. Photo IDs: Front row – Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, ORHA Commissioner Tom Beehan, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, state Rep. John Ragan, ORHA Executive Director Maria Catron, THDA Industry and Government Affairs Liaison Katie Moore
Back row -- ORHA Commissioner Jim Palmer, ORHA Board Chair Jean Lantrip, ORHA Board Secretary Sharon Crane