New Neighborhood LIFT program offers home-buyer incentives

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A new program is coming to Omaha in hopes of increasing homeownership in the city.

Omaha area officials on Wednesday afternoon announced the Neighborhood LIFT program that provides down-payment assistance and home-ownership education to qualified buyers.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert joined Wells Fargo regional bank president and officials from NeighborWorks America and Family Housing Advisory Services to talk about the new Neighborhood LIFT program.

INFO: Learn more about Omaha's Neighborhood LIFT program

Homeownership is one way to build assets. It's a big investment, and a big responsibility. Neighborhood LIFT aims to make it easier for those who thought they may never be able to afford it.

The program has helped create more than 20,000 homeowners in 70 cities across the country.

"Home ownership just got more affordable for so many more families," said John Santner, regional vice president of Wells Fargo, Wednesday at a press conference held in the front yard of a local home for sale.

Banking giant Wells Fargo has set aside $3 million to help 200 lower-income families in the metro area purchase a home. But you don't have to be seeking a loan from Wells Fargo; other approved lenders will be listed at about two weeks before information events coming up in June: from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, June 21; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22 at the Wyndham Ramada at 3321 S. 72nd Street. Registration is required and does not equate to an application for the grant.

To be eligible for $15,000 in down-payment assistance grants, applicants must have an annual income that does not exceed 80 percent of the local area median income in the county where the home is being purchased, according to a release from Wells Fargo.

To give you an idea of whether you might qualify for these grants: The income limit for a family of 1-4 people is $70,000.

Families will also go through a class on home ownership to make sure they can afford the home for as long as they want to live there.

Additionally, Wells Fargo has committed $325,000 to team up with NeighborWorks America to make face-to-face Home Ownership Counseling grants available for consumers who want to prepare for homeownership.

Special incentives will be made available to veterans and service members as well as teachers, law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians: those meeting eligibility requirements can qualify for $17,500 in assistance.

Interested homebuyers will receive a voucher at Omaha NeighborhoodLIFT launch events that will provide complimentary homeownership counseling with a participating HUD-approved housing counselor in the Omaha area.