The proposed down payment assistance program called “Community Heroes,” which the City Council expressed many concerns about at the Oct. 27 work session, is on the agenda for the Tuesday, Dec. 5 City Council meeting.
It is expected that the down payment assistance program will be approved by the City Council despite the fact that the last time the program was discussed in public it met with overwhelming objections from councilmembers.
Councilmember Hugh Holston often compares the legislative process to “making sausage” and the fact that it isn’t pretty. It may not be pretty, but the public no longer gets to see the sausage being made. The program on the agenda is far different from the program proposed at the Oct. 27 work session and evidently those changes were made in one-on-one or small group meetings that are not subject to the North Carolina open meetings law.
There was a time when the City Council actually did work during work sessions, where compromises were proposed and differences resolved. On today’s City Council that is all done behind closed doors. The public gets to see the original proposal and the final product, but the “making sausage” portion of the process is down outside of the public’s view.
One major change in the program up for approval is that it only applies to employees of the City of Greensboro, Guilford County, those serving in the military and military veterans. The original proposal included employees of nonprofits and just about any employee who didn’t work in the private for-profit sector.
The proposed income restrictions have not changed. The Community Heroes program is for those making between 80 percent and 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). For a single person household that would cover someone whose income was between $40,901 to $61,300. For a four-person household the income requirements are from $58,400 to $87,600. For an eight-person household the income requirements are from $77,101 to $115,650.
So, the program could assist a household with an income of over $100,000 with up to $25,000 of down payment assistance to purchase a house in the City of Greensboro. The assistance is available to purchase a single-family detached dwelling, a townhome, a condominium or a manufactured home. But it is only available to those who don’t own other real estate and only for the primary residence.
Down payment assistance of up to $30,000 is available if the home is in a designated redevelopment area.