Zero Interest Home Equity Loans in North and South Omaha: Qualification Requirements and Application Details
Starting on Juneteenth, homeowners residing in formerly redlined areas of North and South Omaha, Nebraska will have the opportunity to apply for 0% interest home loans. These loans are specifically designated for home improvement or preservation purposes, with a maximum amount of $50,000 to be repaid over a 30-year period.
The City of Omaha Planning Department’s Housing Affordability Action Plan identifies the preservation of existing homes as one of several priorities to enhance the local housing market. In line with this goal, the program known as the Greenlining Fund is being administered by Front Porch Investments. It aims to address the legacy of disinvestment resulting from redlining in northeast and southeast Omaha over several decades.
Redlining was a discriminatory practice that involved withholding home loan insurance in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods. Although it was outlawed in 1960, these communities are still grappling with its lasting effects.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must be at least 19 years old, own a residential single-family home as their primary residence, and have an income that falls at or below 120% of the area median income. Additionally, applicants should reside in a formerly redlined area. Detailed eligibility and prioritization guidelines can be found on Front Porch Investments’ website.
Based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) figures for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area, the income limits for eligibility are as follows:
- 1-person household limit: $84,600
- 2-person household limit: $96,650
- 3-person household limit: $108,750
- 4-person household limit: $120,850
- 5-person household limit: $130,500
- 6-person household limit: $140,150
- 7-person household limit: $149,850
- 8-person household limit: $159,500
Out of the pool of eligible applicants, a total of 40 individuals will be randomly selected to participate in the pilot Greenlining Fund. This initial round of loans will involve a total investment of $1 million. Priority will be given to people of color, particularly Black people, Indigenous people, and others whose ancestors were adversely affected by redlining in Omaha. Feedback received during the pilot phase will inform the availability of a second round of loans, with an additional $4 million being allocated.
According to a spokesperson from Front Porch Investments, future programs may expand beyond redlined areas and include homebuyer support. Given the increasing challenge of finding affordable homes in Omaha, such support is vital.
To provide eligible individuals with further information about the Greenlining Fund, open house educational events will be held on June 27 and June 28 at various locations, including The Venue at Highlander and the offices of Canopy South. American Sign Language and Spanish interpreters will be available at certain events.
The deadline to complete an interest form is July 10. This form serves to determine eligibility and is not considered a loan application. To qualify for the program, residential real estate locations must be situated within the redlined areas indicated on a specific map.
Once deemed eligible, homeowners can proceed with the loan application process. If approved, residents will collaborate with a contractor and their lender to determine the most effective use of the loan funds for home improvements.