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May 04, 2018

Inland Empire nonprofits receive $635,000 to help families fund down payments

A pair of Inland Empire nonprofits received a combined $635,000 in grants to help finance down-payment assistance for new homeowners and other services.

“The biggest barrier to homeownership is that down payment money,” said Dawn Lee, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire.

Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, which has offices in San Bernardino, received a $330,000 grant from NeighborWorks America. Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services, which has offices in Rancho Cucamonga and Riverside, received $305,000 from the same organization.

NeighborWorks America is a congressionally-chartered affordable housing organization that received a $140 million core appropriation for the current fiscal year. In mid-April, NeighborWorks America announced plans to disburse some $65 million to more than 240 nonprofits across the country.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands, announced the grants to the Inland Empire groups Friday.

The money that went to Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire will help pay for basic administrative costs and to serve as seed money for a new down-payment assistance program, Lee said.

Would-be homeowners participating in the program would be required to take homebuying classes before receiving loans that may range in value between some $7,500 to $20,000 to bridge whatever financial gaps between their available funds and the amount of a down payment.

“We want them to have some skin in the game, but we try to minimize what that amount may be,” Lee said.

She estimated the San Bernardino nonprofit could help 50 to 150 home buyers in a year if $1 million to $1.5 million can be devoted to the down-payment assistance program.

Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire programs are open to people living in the entirety of Riverside and San Bernardino County, Lee said.

Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services is active throughout the Inland Empire and eastern Los Angeles County, vice president of resource development and communications Greg O’Donnell said.

Its organization objectives are to help clients attain “long-term sustainable homeownership,” O’Donnell said. Its activities include down payment assistance, home rehabilitation and the actual development of new homes in neighborhoods that are otherwise built out.

Information: Call Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire at 909-884-6891 or Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services at 909-988-5979.