Down payment assistance program gives families 2nd chance

The eligible zip codes for assistance (Source: WMC Action News 5)
The eligible zip codes for assistance (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new loan is giving low- and middle- income families a chance at $15,000 to buy a house.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency made the announcement Monday. The loan has zero interest and no monthly payment.

The loan will cover the down payment and closing costs. The incentive is aimed at ultimately fighting blight and crime, and improving education.

"I welcome any program that will help build the community back up," Michael Thomas said.

Thomas lives in Hickory Hill and knows how his community has changed over the years.

"I think Hickory Hill was thriving at one while, then a lot of business moved out," he said.

Thomas is like many people who can appreciate the new incentive for home buyers to purchase property in Memphis.

The program is called the Great Choice loan program, and lets families apply for the $15,000 loan to buy a house in neighborhoods hit by the recent downturn.

After 10 years, the second loan will be forgiven.

The available zip codes where people can apply include:

  • 38012
  • 38109
  • 38128
  • 38016
  • 38111
  • 38133
  • 38018
  • 38115
  • 38134
  • 38053
  • 38116
  • 38135
  • 38063
  • 38122
  • 38141
  • 38105
  • 38125
  • 38301
  • 38107
  • 38127
  • 38305

Homebuyers outside of those zip codes can also apply, but the down payment assistance is limited to five percent and is not completely forgiven for 30 years.

"Also it will help keep the crime down, just knowing that you have something to strive for," Thomas said.

The program is also aimed at protecting families already in those communities from blight, falling property values, and the risk of foreclosure.

"The more families moved into stabilized neighborhoods, educational outcomes increase," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

If you would like to learn more or apply, click here.

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