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With the country's economy and housing crisis currently on everyone's mind, owning your own home may not seem like a realistic venture right now. But home ownership shouldn't be out of anyone's reach, including lower income families and first-time buyers. Before dashing out to your local lender, however, educating yourself on what government backed loans and programs are available is essential to your long-term homeownership success.

Federal Programs

FHA Mortgage

Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration has been helping families become homeowners with a set of programs commonly known as FHA mortgages. Formed in 1934 by Congress, the FHA became part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Housing (HUD) in 1965. Today it acts as a buffer to lenders by reducing their risk in issuing loans as well as helping borrowers get amounts they qualify for.

Continue reading about FHA Mortgage Loan.

Hope Now

Established in October 2007, Hope Now is an alliance between counselors, servicers, investors and other mortgage market participants to maximize outreach efforts to at-risk homeowners and help them stay in their homes.

VA Mortgage Loans

Designed to provide millions of U.S. veterans and their families with affordable housing, the VA loan emerged through the GI Bill of Rights, which was signed off in 1944 by President Roosevelt.

Continue reading about VA Mortgage Loans.

Rural Development Guaranteed Housing

Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Rural Development Administration helps low- to moderate-income families purchase homes with low interest rates and little or no down payment.

The American Dream Downpayment Initiative - ADDI

The American Dream Downpayment Initiative was created in 2003 to aid low-income, first-time homebuyers in achieving affordable housing by eliminating two of the biggest hurdles in buying a home: a downpayment and closing costs.

Teacher Next Door Program

Established by HUD in order to provide affordable housing to teachers and education administrators, the Teacher Next Door Program offers a 50% discount on homes purchased in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Reverse mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan available for seniors wherein the payment stream is reversed. Rather than you paying the lender, the lender gives you monthly payments according the equity of your home.

Continue reading about Reverse mortgages.

Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program - GNND

In an effort to improve communities across the country, HUD has designed the Good Neighbor Next Door Program to make housing more affordable to those who work in law enforcement, primary and secondary education and other municipal services such as firefighting and emergency medical services.

HomeChoice Program

Designed to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income homeowners and first-time homebuyers with disabilities or a family member with disabilities living with them, the HomeChoice Program offers borrowers the ability to purchase a home anywhere within California.

Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Program

Created in response to the growing number of families unable to afford a home, SHOP provides funding for nonprofit organizations who purchase home sites in order to develop safe and sanitary non-luxury housing for low-income families and individuals.

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN

Since its inception in 1970, ACORN has grown to become the largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families in the nation. With over 350, 000 members and chapters across the U.S. as well as cities in Argentina, Peru, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Canada, ACORN has helped develop communities through campaigning and fundraising for better housing, schools, neighborhood safety, health care and job conditions, to name a few.

Community Frameworks

Established in 1974, Community Frameworks is a nonprofit organization aimed at building stronger communities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Community Frameworks assists in building and preserving homes for renters and first-time homebuyers as well as as aiding other organizations to meet the housing needs of low-income homebuyers via their various programs.

Habitat for Humanity International

As a nonprofit Christian housing ministry, HFHI has provided over 1 million people with safe, decent and affordable housing. Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, HFHI encourages volunteers from all backgrounds and religions to help families in need to build shelters and homes.

Energy Efficient Mortgages

Since 1995, HUD has been providing mortgage insurance to help persons incorporate the cost of energy efficient improvements into a purchase or refinance mortgage. One way to reduce your spending is to cut the cost of your utility bills. And replacing those drafty windows and leaky ducts might be easier than one thinks.

Continue reading about Energy Efficient Mortgages.

State Programs

Alabama

AHFA was created in 1980 by ACT No. 80-585 of the Alabama Legislature. AHFA is a public corporation dedicated to serving the housing needs of low and moderate-income Alabamians. This goal is accomplished through affordable financing of safe, sanitary single and multifamily housing.

  • First Step
  • Step Up
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates - MCCs
  • American Dream Downpayment Initiative - ADDI

Alaska

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) offers a variety of loan programs to ensure that Alaskans have access to safe, quality, affordable housing. AHFC works in partnership with local banks and mortgage companies.

  • Tax Exempt First Time Home Buyer Program - TEP
  • Refinance Program
  • Taxable first-Time Home Buyer Program

Arkansas

The Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $39.6 million in grants to the Arkansas state program in 2002, including $24.9 million in community development block grants. About 12,436 new housing units were authorized in 2002. The median home value was $79,043. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $772 while the monthly cost for renters was at a median of $497.

  • HomeToOwn Program
  • Downpayment Assistance Program - DAP
  • American Dream Downpayment Initiative - ADDI
  • Home Program

Arizona

The Arizona Department of Housing provides housing and community revitalization and a host of various mortgage programs to those seeking to get onto the property ladder.

  • Mortgage Revenue Bond - MRB
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates - MCC
  • Downpayment Assistance Program

California

For over 30 years, California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has supported the needs of renters and first-time homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for individuals within specified income ranges. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the State's affordable housing bank to make low interest rate loans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. A completely self-supporting State agency, bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars.

  • Interest Only Plus
  • CalHFA Housing Assistance Program - CHAP
  • 30-Year Fixed Mortgage
  • California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program - CHDAP

Colorado

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) helps improve the lives of people throughout Colorado by financing the places where people live and work. CHFA was created in 1973 by the Colorado Legislature to address the shortage of affordable housing in the state.

  • CHFA HomeStretch
  • CHFA FHASecure Refinance
  • Second Mortgage Loans

Connecticut

CHFA is a leader in housing finance in Connecticut. Over the past 38 years, CHFA has helped more than 109,000 families and individuals, purchase their first home and has provided financing for the construction and/or rehabilitation of more than 28,000 units of affordable rental housing for families and the elderly.

  • CT FAMLIES
  • Rehabilitation Mortgage Loan Program
  • Home of Your Own - HOYO

District of Columbia

DHCD provides a number of opportunities low-to-moderate income residents who seek to become first-time homeowners in the District. We also can assist with qualified existing homeowners who need home repairs.

  • Home Purchase Assistance Program
  • Single Family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program

Florida

Florida Housing was created by the Florida Legislature over 25 ago years to help fellow Floridians obtain safe, decent housing that might otherwise be unavailable to them.

  • First Time Homebuyer Program

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was created in 1977 to serve as an advocate for local governments. On July 1, 1996, the Governor and General Assembly merged the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority (GHFA) with the Department of Community Affairs.

  • Georgia Dream Homeownership Program
  • Georgia Dream Standard Down Payment Program
  • Efficient or Visitable - EV

Hawaii

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority (formerly the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii) helps provide Hawaii residents with affordable housing and shelter without discrimination. HPHA efforts focus on developing affordable rental and supportive housing, public housing and the efficient and fair delivery of housing services to the people of Hawaii.

  • Mortgage Credit Certificates
  • Hula Mae Program

Idaho

  • Good Credit Rewards
  • FHA Loan
  • IdaMortgage Conventional Loan

Indiana

IHCDA administers financial vehicles and incentives to create affordable housing for rent or purchase as well as supportive facilities. IHCDA was created in 1978 by the Indiana General Assembly and is a quasi-autonomous, financially self-sufficient statewide government agency that operates without state tax revenues.

  • First Home
  • First Home PLUS
  • First Home 100

Iowa

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) was established in 1975 to undertake programs to assist in the attainment of housing for low- and moderate-income Iowans. Since then, IFA's role has expanded considerably and includes four primary areas of responsibility.

  • FirstHome
  • FirstHome Plus

Kentucky

Kentucky Housing Corporation, created by the 1972 General Assembly, is a self-supporting, public corporation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky administratively attached to the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

  • Limited Cash-Out Refinance
  • Home - DAP
  • HOME Special Program

Kansas

The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation mission is to enhance Kansas communities with housing opportunities.

  • Kansas Energy Efficiency Program
  • First Time Home Buyers Program

Maine

The mission of the Maine State Housing Authority is to assist Maine people to obtain and maintain decent, safe, affordable housing and services suitable to their unique housing needs.

  • First Home Program
  • Operation New Home

Maryland

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development works with partners to finance housing opportunities and revitalize great places for Maryland citizens to live, work and prosper.

  • Lifeline Refinance Mortgage Program
  • Bridge to HOPE Loan Program
  • House Keys 4 Employees

Massachusetts

The DHCD's mission is to strengthen cities, towns and neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life of Massachusetts residents. They provide leadership, professional assistance and financial resources to promote safe, decent affordable housing opportunities, economic vitality of communities and sound municipal management.

  • American Dream Downpayment Initiative - ADDI
  • Soft Second Program
  • Masshousing

Michigan

MSHDA offers Mortgage Loan Programs to assist low-to-moderate income families to purchase a home. To be eligible, applicants must qualify under federal and state income and home purchase price limits. Additional assistance for down payment and closing costs assistance is also available for those who qualify.

  • Rural Development
  • Employer Assisted Housing
  • FHA

Minnesota

Created in 1971, the Minnesota Housing finances and advances affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income Minnesotans to enhance quality of life and foster strong communities.

  • Reverse Mortgage and Home Equity Conversion
  • Minnesota Mortgage Program - MMP
  • Homeownership Assistance Fund - HAF

Mississippi

The Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) was created by the Mississippi Home Corporation act of 1989 to address these housing needs.

  • Housing Assistance for Teachers - HAT
  • Habitat Loan Purchase Program

Missouri

MHDC is the state's housing finance agency. The Commission is dedicated to strengthening communities and the lives of Missourians through the financing, development and preservation of affordable housing.

  • First Place Loan Program
  • Down Payment Assistance Program

Montana

The Montana Board of Housing was created by the Montana Housing Act of 1975. The Board is an agency of the State and operates within the Department of Commerce for administrative purposes.

  • Rural Development Program
  • FHA
  • MyMontana Mortgage Program

Nebraska

NIFA's mission is to serve the people of Nebraska. Within its statutory authority, NIFA is charged with providing a broad range of financial resources for agricultural, residential, manufacturing, medical and community development endeavors and providing technical assistance for activities related to these areas.

  • First Home
  • First Home Plus

Nevada

The Nevada Housing Division was created by the Nevada Legislature in 1975 when it was recognized that a shortage of safe, decent, and sanitary housing existed throughout the State for persons and families of low- and moderate-income.

  • First Time Homebuyer Program
  • HOME Homebuyer Assistance

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority's mission is to promote, finance and support affordable housing opportunities and related services for New Hampshire families and individuals through the efficient use of resources and the building of effective partnerships, thereby contributing to the economic and social development of the State and its communities.

  • Divorced Borrower
  • Cash Assistance
  • HomeAccess Program

New Jersey

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) is dedicated to increasing the availability of and accessibility to safe, decent and affordable housing to families in New Jersey.

  • Reverse Mortgage for NJ Seniors
  • 100% Financing
  • Home Plus

New Mexico

The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority's mission is to house New Mexico's people by serving as the State's lead affordable housing finance and resources provider, engaging in self-sustaining practices, and promoting sound housing policy.

  • HERO
  • Mortgage Booster

New York

SONYMA is dedicated to providing affordable home ownership opportunities to low- and moderate- income families in the State of New York by offering low interest rate mortgages.

  • SONYMA
  • Keep the Dream
  • Achieving the Dream Program

North Carolina

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency offers programs to assist first-time home buyers; helps governments, nonprofit groups, and private developers create affordable homes, apartments and supportive housing; and provides funding for rehab and repair assistance for homeowners through local groups.

  • Reverse Mortgage
  • FirstHome Mortgage
  • Downpayment Assistance

North Dakota

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is a public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans.

  • FirstHome Program
  • HomeKey Program
  • HomeAccess Program

Ohio

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency offers affordable housing opportunities for Ohioans from rental assistance to homeownership. OHFA provides access to financial resources for the development and management of quality, affordable housing.

  • Ohio Heroes Program
  • First-Time Homebuyer Program

Oklahoma

Many families face difficult financial times each year, and OHFA is there to help by providing affordable housing to working Oklahomans, help families with their housing needs by enabling them to buy homes through special financing opportunities, rent homes in safer neighborhoods and rehabilitate existing homes.

  • 1st Gold
  • Market Best
  • Future Foundation

Oregon

Oregon Housing and Community Services is Oregon's housing finance agency, providing financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of lower and moderate income.

  • Homebuyer Program
  • RateAdvantage Home Loan Option

Puerto Rico

In 2001, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico established as a priority the need to restructure the public agencies offering financing for housing in Puerto Rico and, particularly, to merge under a single operation the financing services for low-income housing.

  • Key to Your Home Program
  • Direct Loan

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Housing is a self-sustaining public agency that reinvests all our revenue in meeting the housing needs of the state.

  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Equisense
  • FirstHomes

South Carolina

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority administer a number of Federal and State programs directed at low and low-to-moderate income South Carolinians.

  • Single Parent Program
  • Individual or Family Disability Program

South Dakota

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority was created in 1973 by the State Legislature as an independent public instrumentality to exercise essential public functions.

  • Loan Assistance Program - LAP
  • Employer Mortgage Assistance Program - EMAP

Tennessee

Tennessee Housing Development Agency (TDHA) mission is to lead Tennessee home by creating safe, sound, affordable housing opportunities.

  • ADDI

Texas

TDHCA's mission is to help Texans achieve an improved quality of life through the development of better communities. The Department accomplishes this mission by acting as a conduit for federal grant funds for housing and community services.

  • Texas Lone Star Program
  • Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

Vermont

VHFA's mission is to finance and promote affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters.

  • Limited Refinance
  • Manufactured Housing

Virginia

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) is the state's mortgage finance agency. Created in 1972 by the Virginia General Assembly, our mission is to help low- and moderate-income Virginians attain quality, affordable housing.

  • Fixed Rate Loans
  • FHA Plus Loan Program

Washington

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission is a publicly accountable, self-supporting team dedicated to increasing housing access and affordability and to expanding the availability of quality community facilities for the people of Washington.

  • House Key State Bond
  • House Key Plus

West Virginia

The HDF is a public body corporate, and governmental instrumentality of the State of West Virginia, established to develop and improve housing opportunities for its residents.

  • Monthly Plus
  • Secondary Market Program

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority offers innovative products and services in partnership with others to link Wisconsin residents and communities with affordable housing and economic development opportunities.

  • Home

Wyoming

WCDA raises capital for the mortgages it provides by selling mortgage revenue bonds to investors. Since the interest paid to bond holders is generally exempt from federal income tax, investors accept a lower rate.

  • WCDA Standard Homebuyer Program
  • Home Run I and Home Run II Programs