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Programs set up to help all levels of Utah homebuyers

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jun 02, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite what's seen around the rest of the country, the Utah housing market remains hot with no signs of cooling anytime soon.

This year, June brings the return of the Section 8 Housing Program in Salt Lake City. The Housing Authority closed applications for the program three years ago after the waiting list grew to 6,000 households.

Section 8 is typically considered to be for lower-income homes, but as the deputy director for the Housing Authority explains, it covers a wider swath of families.

“Affordable housing is anything 80 percent and below of average median income, so that includes teachers, police, nurses, all the individuals. It does not mean you’re necessarily without a job,” said Britnee Dabb.

While housing developments are popping up rapidly in northern Utah, most are luxury complexes which can make finding reasonably-priced living a challenge.

“In Salt Lake they anticipate that the number of affordable housing options, again that’s 80 percent and below of average median income, is about 2,000 units short,” said Dabb.

That's a gap Bank of America is trying to fill in Utah. A new program to help would-be homebuyers cover some of the initial costs of getting a home is now open, even to those who aren't current Bank of America customers.

Applicants could be eligible for grants totaling $17,500. The amount of money received is based on location and where you find the home.

“It can be in a low to moderate income area or it can be in a moderate to high income area,” explained Lester Clements II, Bank of America’s lending market leader. “What changes is the percentage of adjusted moderate income.”

Eligibility for the loan is based primarily on income and home location. The buyer must earn less than or equal to 150% of Area Minimum Income if purchasing in a low-to moderate income area or ear less than or equal to 80%% of Area Minimum Income  in other neighborhoods.

The American Home Grant gets homebuyers up to $7,500, which can cover closing costs and applies to any home in the state of Utah.

Meanwhile, the Down Payment Grant provides up to $10,000, or three percent of the down payment, needed for a home, but only applies to certain neighborhoods in the state.

It’s possible to be approved for both grants.

Bank of America says people can apply for the money at any point in the home-buying process, but suggests getting pre-approved before starting a home search.

That’s the advantage of the Down Payment Grant.

“The benefit behind that program is number one, how much can I truly afford? Are you going to get the grant to go with them? We’ll know that through that pre-approval process and then you have 90 days to go find a home,” said Clements.

Neither grant must be repaid, however those who receive the Down Payment Grant, plan to file a 1099 because it is considered income.

Whether looking for affordable housing or keys to a new home, agencies in the Salt Lake area and the state are trying to make that process easier.

“Having the capability to apply online where people can do it from your cell phones, from home, they can even come into our office,” said Dabb.

Applications for Section 8 opened June 1 and will remain open for an undetermined amount of time.

CLICK HERE to apply, or CLICK HERE to find a home in Utah that is eligible for the American Home Grant or Down Payment Grant.

The following list includes other housing programs under the Housing Authority.

Prospective homebuyers looking to see if they're eligible for any of the programs below can CLICK HERE.

  • Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV): Commonly known as Section 8, this program allows tenants to choose the property where they use their vouchers. These vouchers are tenant-based, meaning they will follow the tenant should they move units, counties, or even states.
  • Project-Based Vouchers (PBV): Project-based vouchers differ from Housing Choice Vouchers in that they only apply to specific properties. These properties are specifically geared towards clients who are experiencing homelessness, disabled, elderly, or low income. With this program, clients can request to transfer to a tenant-based voucher after completing a one-year lease at the project-based property.
  • Public Housing: HASLC owns two properties under the public housing program, specifically for elderly and disabled clients.
  • Housing Opportunities for People with Aids (HOPWA): HASLC collaborates with the Utah Aids Foundation to fill these vouchers. When a voucher becomes available, HASLC will notify UAF, who will refer an eligible client.
  • Family Unification Program (FUP): FUP vouchers are filled in through referral by the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and the Juvenile Justice System. Once a referral is received, clients will be placed on a waitlist until a voucher becomes available.
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH): HASLC issues two types of VASH vouchers, tenant-based and project-based. VASH vouchers are issued through a referral from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Non-Elderly Disabled (NED): Recipients of this voucher are selected from the mainstream HCV waitlist based on qualifying characteristics. To be eligible for this voucher, clients much have a head of household or co-head of household who is under 62 years old and disabled.
  • Family Self-Sufficiency Program: This program is for current housing choice voucher and project-based voucher clients. Clients are given resources for goal setting and financial planning to direct them toward a more self-sufficient life.
  • Landlord Outreach Program: The goal of Landlord Outreach is to open and maintain relationships with local landlords and to assist voucher holders in finding and maintaining gainful housing.
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