Helping Hands for Home Buyers: Canton Leaders Approve First-Time Buyer Assistance Program
The Canton City Council of Ohio has taken a significant step towards supporting first-time homebuyers in the area by adopting the Down Payment Assistance program. This initiative, unanimously approved by the council, aims to provide financial aid to eligible individuals in Canton who meet specific income requirements and are seeking to purchase their first home.
Under the newly approved Down Payment Assistance program, developed by Canton staff, qualified buyers will have the opportunity to receive a minimum of $500 and up to $10,000 in the form of a forgivable deferred payment loan, according to city documents. This financial assistance will help alleviate the burden of upfront costs associated with purchasing a home, making homeownership more accessible for eligible individuals in Canton.
Canton Housing Initiatives Director Ken Patton has stated that for the calendar year 2023, a total of 10 applications, with a combined value of up to $100,000, may be approved. However, the city council plans to reevaluate the program later in the year to determine additional funding and the maximum number of applications that can be considered for approval.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must be first-time homebuyers, as defined by federal regulations. This includes individuals who have not owned a home in the past three years and displaced homemakers. Additionally, the applicant’s total annual income must not exceed 80% of the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell Metropolitan Statistical Area’s median income, depending on family size.
Qualified buyers will have the opportunity to receive up to $7,500 for a standard loan. However, the program also offers other loan options for specific qualified applicants, which could provide assistance of up to $10,000. These include:
- Protectors, Educators, and Healthcare: First responders such as police, fire, and EMT; educators employed by accredited educational institutions; healthcare workers employed by licensed healthcare providers.
- CHOICE: Households with a family member who has a disability.
- City of Canton employees.
Under the program, the loan will be forgiven after the homeowner has resided in the home for five years. The amount owed will decrease by 20% each year over the course of the five-year period, ultimately providing relief to the homeowner.
To be eligible for the program, the property must be a one-unit single-family residential dwelling located within the city limits of Canton. It must also meet all the requirements for applicable housing and building codes and ordinances. It’s important to note that program funds cannot be used to purchase a property occupied by a tenant at the time of the sales contract, unless the tenant is the borrower.
For further details about the program, interested individuals can visit the Canton City Council meeting agenda for June 1 at canton.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
During the council meeting, several other important topics were discussed, including the potential alteration of city ordinances to allow breweries and/or distilleries in the central business district, an update on the proposed 2024 budget and millage rate, and the announcement of two state-funded grants awarded to Canton for the development of South Canton Park and the Canton Creek Pedestrian Bridge.
The Canton City Council will convene on June 15 at City Hall, where the terms and conditions of the agreement for the aforementioned funds will be voted upon. The meeting will also be streamed online for those who wish to participate remotely.