Down Payment Assistance Program to help 35 families

By Donna Newman

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) recently announced the extension of the Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program, which assists first-time homebuyers with funds for a down payment to help make the “American Dream” of homeownership a reality.

Assistance will provide up to $10,000 in grant funding to eligible first-time homebuyers — helping an additional 35 Suffolk County families. Since the program’s inception, Suffolk County has helped more than 1,700 families with down payments on their first homes.

Applications are now being accepted through Nov. 30. Residents may download the application through the Community Development tab on the County’s website,

Applications will be accepted by mail only and may also be requested by telephone from the Community Development Office: 631-853–5705.

Bellone stressed that qualified Suffolk County residents must purchase a home within the consortium area. They will have 90 days from the date of issuance of the Purchase Certificate to submit a fully executed Contract of Sale to the Community Development Office — or 300 days to submit a fully executed contract of sale if the first-time homebuyer is purchasing a new construction home.

The consortium includes all of Suffolk County, excluding the Towns of Babylon and Islip.

Comprehensive details of the eligibility criteria, income guidelines and other elements of the program are available on the County website. Key eligibility elements include:

• An applicant must be a first-time homebuyer as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a household that has not owned a home during the three-year period immediately prior to the purchase of a residence with HOME funding.

• Prospective applicants must represent a low to moderate income household with an annual income not exceeding 80 percent of the area median income as determined by HUD, which includes an adjustment for family size; must have at least $3,000 banked at the time of application; have a documented minimum income of at least $30,000 and be able to obtain a mortgage from a qualified lender.

• The maximum appraised value of a single-family residence to be purchased within the Suffolk County Consortium HOME Selection Area cannot exceed $356,000 for existing housing or new construction. Single-family homes, condominiums and cooperative apartments (co-ops) are eligible.