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3 On Your Side: $15,000 Grants For Philly Home Buyers

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Are you in the market for a new home? Well if you're looking to buy in Philadelphia, have we got a deal for you, free money! 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us how some prospective homebuyers may be able to cash in.

For people looking to buy a home in Philadelphia there may be no better time than the present. A program called CityLIFT is making $10 million dollars in grants available to boost homeownership in the city. Up to $15,000 will be given to those who qualify. The $15,000 grants are meant to help with down payments are being made available through a partnership between the city and Wells Fargo.

"There have been people who have been looking to buy a home for years and years and years but just haven't been able to put together the down payment that they need to be able to do that, and this is their opportunity," says Shanta Schachter, the deputy director of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

New Kensington CDC is administering the CityLIFT program and Schachter is quick to point out that this isn't a loan. She says,
"This is a grant that you will receive and if you stay in your house for five years you do not have to pay any of it back. If you happen to sell in the next couple of years you'll owe back a percentage of that."

The CityLIFT grants are income based. For example a single homebuyer with an income of $68,500 would be eligible as would be a household of 4 with an income of up to $97,800.

"In order to qualify for the $15,000 down payment assistance program an individual must purchase a property within the city limits of Philadelphia," says James Wright of Wells Fargo. According to Wright, Philadelphia is just one of several cities across the country where funding is being made available.

Wright says, "We are thinking that by giving the city $10 million dollars toward down payment assistance of homes and offering that to borrowers they would be able to purchase homes and stay in those homes and really kind of re-ignite the home buying industry."

CityLIFT is holding a free homebuyer workshop this Friday and Saturday, September 21st and 22nd at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Pre-registration has already filled up, but walk-in's will be accepted, just be prepared to wait.

This CityLIFT money can be used to buy any home in any Philadelphia neighborhood as long as you can qualify for a mortgage.

You can finance the mortgage through any bank and the down payment assistance is available to first time home buyers and anyone that may have owned a home in the past. Current home owners whose houses are up for sale would only be eligible if they sell their current home first.

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