The American dream of home ownership is becoming a reality for low-income families because a local nonprofit helps people help themselves become homeowners.
Florida Home Partnership
, a program that has served Hillsborough and Pasco counties for the past 21 years, has assisted over 700 families, veterans and seniors in achieving their goal to become homeowners.
“There are a lot of people that are shut out of the chance at home ownership,” says Earl Pfeiffer, Executive Director for Florida Home Partnership. “Our program is not a handout, it is a hand up.”
Pfeiffer explains that the program, which has built communities in rural areas throughout Hillsborough
counties, helps those who otherwise would not have the chance to own a home.
“The first criteria an individual or family must meet, is that they be under 80-percent of the area median income,” he says. “In Hillsborough and Pasco counties, for a single person that income cannot exceed $33,050, and for a family of four it cannot exceed $47,200.
In addition to the income level, individuals and families must have good or repairable credit, a reliable source of income and be willing to work on their own home.
“This is a self-help program,” Pfeiffer says. “Families in the community work on the homes they will be living in, and are required to work a minimum of 600 hours on skilled tasks.”
The innovative program is funded by a variety of sources. Program funding comes from the Department of Agriculture
, as well as both Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Funding for the homes, comes from Congress in the form of the Section 502 loan, as well as down payment assistance from the State of Florida
“As a real estate agent myself, I see how the rates are going up, it can be very difficult to buy a house,” Pfeiffer says. “We all want to be a part of the American dream, and this program helps people achieve that dream.”