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Hundreds Poised for Homeownership Through Wells Fargo HomeLIFT Grant

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New homes are on the near horizon for 250 Norfolk and Virginia Beach residents who ventured out in June to the Virginia Beach Convention Center for the kick off of Wells Fargo’s HomeLIFT program. Of 450 attendees, more than half learned they were eligible to receive a $15,000 down-payment assistance grant from Wells Fargo.

The HomeLIFT grants are being administered by NeighborWorks America via CHP, which has been a chartered NeighborWorks member since 2003.  All told, Wells Fargo provided $4.1 million in forgivable down-payment assistance and financial education during the two-day event.

Jasmine Martinez, a resident of Norfolk, shared that she has been dreaming about homeownership for a very long time. “Homeownership is an amazing gift that I thought would never be possible,” said Martinez. “HomeLIFT has provided an opportunity for people like me to change our lives, and for that I am truly grateful.”

Prospective homebuyers were able to meet with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultants, as well as NeighborWorks and CHP staff, to determine if they qualified for HomeLIFT grant money. For each of the 250 people who met the eligibility requirements, a down-payment assistance loan was reserved for them with the contingency that each person had 60 days from the date the reservation was made to enter into a purchase and sales agreement on a property in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk city limits. If an individual is unable to secure a purchase contract in that time, that down-payment assistance loan can be redistributed to another eligible home buyer.

In addition to the down-payment assistance grant, qualified homebuyers are required to attend an eight-hour homeownership class that will help homebuyers be more fully prepared for all aspects of homeownership. The homeownership classes are being administered by two local nonprofit partners: the Urban League of Hampton Roads located in Virginia Beach and The UP Center located in Norfolk.  

According to CHP Chief Business Development Officer Karen Turner, the goal of the grant and its education component is to support sustainable homeownership and advance neighborhood stability.

“CHP’s staff has been working diligently to help hundreds of homeowners secure their $15,000 down-payment assistance grants through the HomeLIFT program. The ability to impact so many homebuyers over a short period of time presents a very unique opportunity for CHP and for the communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. This grant has opened doors for many families who may have thought homeownership was just out of reach. And by educating these customers, they will have knowledge and tools to better manage homeownership.”