CAPE CORAL — While in Cape Coral early Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the “Hometown Heroes” housing program.

The governor and several state officials were joined by local teachers and police officers at the Cape Coral Police Department for a press conference, where he elaborated about the program.

“Hometown Heroes” will help Florida residents in more than 50 “critical professions” to purchase their first home, according to a news release; this list includes police officers, health care professionals, firefighters, teachers, veterans, active military and childcare employees, among others.

“Our hometown heroes are the backbone of Florida communities and making sure that they can afford to be homeowners is a great way to give back to them and support the future of the American Dream,” said DeSantis in the press release.

Funding for the program will be released starting on July 1, upon the start of the new fiscal year; applications for the program can be made starting on June 1.

The $100 million program is a part of DeSantis’ “intent to support the total of nearly $363 million appropriated for affordable and workforce housing in the 2022-2023 budget, the highest total in 15 years,” the news release stated.

The Florida Housing and Finance Corporation will administer the program. Those seeking to qualify will need to touch base with a “participating loan officer, have a minimum credit score of 640, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county,” the news release said.

Eligible borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (up to a maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.

“Florida Housing is extremely grateful to those who have remained committed to serving their communities, especially during these challenging financial times,” Florida Housing Finance Corp. Executive Director Trey Price stated in the news release.

Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle also spoke during the meeting.

“DEO is proud to stand beside Gov. DeSantis as he prioritizes our state’s vital workers, including our first responders, nurses, and teachers,” Eagle stated. “These men and women are heroes who ensure our communities’ crucial needs are met, and we are grateful to take part in this initiative to show our gratitude.”


CCPD Officer Ashton Wolfe, a military veteran, credited previous state-level programs for helping him to purchase his own home in Cape Coral — where he grew up — at age 23.

“It’s about trying to do right by the community,” said Wolfe, speaking about his motivation to join law enforcement.

Melba Lugo, a second-grade teacher at Mid Cape International Academy, spoke about how financial assistance programs enabled her to change cities and homes in the course of a day.

“I’m 63. At this age, you’re supposed to be paying off your mortgage,” said said after the meeting. “It’s exciting.”

DeSantis also took time during the Monday morning press conference to boast about a number of positive indicators for the state’s economy, such as $20 billion in state reserves thanks to a budget surplus.

“We’ve never had as big a budget surplus — not even close — in the history of the state,” said DeSantis.

Eagle also cited Florida’s unemployment rate of 3 percent, outpacing the national average of 3.6 percent.

DeSantis criticized “idiot politicians” for implementing vaccine requirements for nurses and other occupations, as well as ordering lockdowns and requiring masks. He cited efforts by his office to prevent local governments from instituting such measures as part of why people living in other states have flocked to Florida.

“The whole country wants to be here,” said DeSantis, referring to Cape Coral specifically, to an enthusiastic audience’s applause.

For more information, visit www.floridahousing.org/hometownheroes.

1
0
0
0
1

Load comments