Florida Grants $100 Million to Incentivize Relocation of “Hometown Heroes”
Florida has gone above and beyond to support the relocation of Americans to the Sunshine State by providing over $100 million in down payment and closing cost assistance. This initiative has benefitted nearly 7,000 individuals, including veterans, active-duty service members, nurses, teachers, first responders, and law enforcement officers.
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature established the Hometown Heroes Housing Program to make living in the communities where these individuals serve more affordable. Since its launch in June 2022, the program has successfully assisted 6,753 veterans, active-duty military members, nurses, teachers, and law enforcement officers in purchasing homes.
Governor DeSantis expressed his pride in supporting these hometown heroes, stating, “Through the Hometown Heroes housing program, we are ensuring that our police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, and military members and veterans can afford to buy homes in the communities that they have dedicated their lives to serving.”
The program offers down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time, income-qualified homebuyers who wish to purchase a primary residence in their community of service. Additionally, it provides the Hometown Heroes Loan Program, which offers a lower interest rate on the first mortgage and additional benefits for those who have served or continue to serve.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s Executive Director, Mike DiNapoli, highlighted the positive impact of the program, stating, “By providing more hardworking Floridians with a place to call home, we are helping to facilitate healthier family environments, build stronger communities, and improve local economic impact.”
Due to the program’s initial success, the Florida legislature has allocated an additional $100 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, allowing the program to continue assisting Florida families. Furthermore, the maximum down payment assistance amount has been increased to $35,000 or up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount.
To be eligible, homebuyers must connect with a participating loan officer from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, have a minimum credit score of 640, be a first-time homebuyer, and earn less than 150% of the area median income based on county data.
The Hometown Heroes Housing Program is one of several initiatives created by Governor DeSantis to support those serving their communities. Last year, the state launched Florida’s Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program, which has attracted over 2,000 law enforcement officers and first responders from other states. The program offers incentives such as signing bonuses, educational grants, relocation assistance, and more to support their transition to Florida.
Pinellas County near Tampa Bay has been a particularly popular choice among out-of-state recruits, with nearly 50 individuals opting to serve there. Among the new recruits, over 200 have relocated from states like New York, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. These efforts reinforce Florida’s commitment to supporting and recognizing the contributions of those who protect and serve their communities.