First Time Homebuyer Assistance Loans Available in Jefferson County

SOLD cartoonBy Nancy Strine, HAP Program Administrator

Income-eligible first time homebuyers in Jefferson County can apply for a deferred no-interest loan for down payment and closing costs through the Homebuyer Assistance Program or HAP. HAP provides gap financing to make the home loan affordable to the buyer.

The amount of the loan depends on the buyer’s need for assistance but cannot exceed $14,500.00. The term of the loan is 5-years and carries a zero interest with no repayment if the buyer remains in the home. Qualifying applicants must meet federal requirements for household size income and the sales price of the home. The house must also undergo a HAP property maintenance code inspection and meet local property codes. Repairs must be made prior to closing. Applicants must provide at least $500 of their own funds towards the purchase of the home and provide documented proof.

All applicants are required to complete a homebuyer education course through an approved housing counseling program and obtain a certificate of completion. Homebuyer education and credit counseling is offered through the Partnership for Affordable Housing, Inc. (304-725-6189) and the Telamon Corporation  (304-263-0916).

The funding source for the HAP program is the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program which is administered by the City of Martinsburg. The Eastern Panhandle HOME Consortium of West Virginia is the participating jurisdiction under the HOME Act which encourages housing assistance in compliance with HUD regulations and the local Consolidated Plan of the member jurisdictions.

Applications are accepted at any time, however, funds are limited and are on a first-come first-served basis. As of March 20, 2017 there is $ 80,428.65 of funding available in Jefferson County; $104,638.88 Berkeley County; $78,015.08 in the City of Martinsburg; and $33,179.57 in Morgan County.

For complete program guidelines and application forms please visit the Partnership for Affordable Housing.
Download the HAP flyer here.

PAH Cohosts “What Every Landlord Needs to Know Workshop”

On January 25, PAH partnered with the City of Ranson to host the first annual “What Every Landlord Needs to Know” free workshop.

Ranson Mayor Keith “Duke” Pierson’s opened the program with welcoming remarks. The agenda included: Ranson’s rental registration program; working with the Ranson Police Department to obtain tenant background checks; selecting good tenants; and landlord-tenant legal issues. The 20 participants also learned about Fair Housing “do’s and don’t’s” and financing opportunities for rehabilitating rental housing units.

Additional workshop sponsors included the HOME Consortium of the Eastern Panhandle and the WV Assistive Technology System.

PAH Participates in NeighborWorks Training Institute

The PAH administrator and housing counselor attended the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Washington, DC, December 11 – 16, 2016, taking the following courses:

Working with Tenants & Small Landlords to Revitalize the Neighborhood — Explored how to work with landlords, especially small investors, to build their capacity to successfully manage their property for a solid return on investment; to plan for and finance physical improvements; to become management partners with their tenants; and to be an engaged participant in the neighborhood.

Basic Steps of Affordable Housing Development — Examined the affordable housing development process from site selection and project feasibility through development team selection, budget design and funding, and planning for the successful long-term operation and management affordable housing projects.

Delivering Financial Education for Today’s Consumer — Considered new, updated financial training perspectives for our housing counselor. Individualized coaching, combined with traditional counseling techniques, will enhance PAH’s already successful homebuyer education program.

Effective Student Loan Counseling for Housing Counselors — Student loans are a significant problem today because they cannot be included in bankruptcy and many have very high interest rates. This has been a major barrier in home purchase for some individuals. The course also covered the different types of student loans and how they can be deferred, interest rates, consolidation, forbearance, and other variables.


Rental Assistance Voucher Program Opens

Martinsburg Housing Authority Opening Section 8 Rental Assistance Voucher Program

The Martinsburg Housing Authority has opened their public housing waiting list and is accepting applications for the Section 8 Rental Assistance Voucher Program as of 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 12, 2016.

Applications are being taken by appointment only. Those interested should call 304-263-8891 or stop by the Martinsburg Housing Authority office at 703 Porter Avenue in Martinsburg, West Virginia to arrange an appointment.

The Housing Authority requires the following documents applicable to the applicants’ family or household, including children:

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Social Security cards
  3. Income verifications — wages, AFDC, Social Security, SSI, child support, alimony, unemployment, workers comp, pensions, sick leave, odd jobs, self-employment, etc.
  4. Verification of any interest, stocks, bonds, savings, and property owned
  5. Copies of bank statements from the last six (6) months
  6. Court orders for divorce, separation, child Support, alimony, etc.
  7. Copy of the most recent IRS 1040 form
  8. Food stamps, grants (e.g., LEAP, school grants, transportation payments, vehicle allowances)
  9. Medicaid card payments
  10. Life Insurance policies
  11. Child care expenses ( babysitter, Mountain Heart)
  12. Photo ID

If an applicant does not have all the required information at the time of their appointment, they will be given a list of items still needed and 30 days in which to return with them before the application can be completed and placed on the waiting list.

Income and Information release forms must also be signed and received by the Housing Authority Office before an application is considered complete and can be added to the waiting list.

Contact the Martinsburg Housing Authority at 304-263-8891 for more information.

“Soup Supper” a Great Success

First Annual “There’s Always … Room at the Table Soup Supper” Was a Great Success!

The PAH-sponsored Soup Supper, held on November 4 at the Charles Town Presbyterian Church, helped draw attention to the issues raised by National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.

There was a rich program and many attendees. Pastor John Bethard, of the Charles Town Presbyterian Church, offered a prayer. Bob Shefner of Community Ministries welcomed the guests with statistics about poverty and homelessness here in Jefferson County. Pastor John Unger, who serves the congregations of St. John Lutheran Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Bolivar United Methodist Church in Harpers Ferry, gave a slide show and a talk about his work with Mother Teresa and his experience at her canonization at the Vatican. “The Country Hams” barbershop quartet sang as the guests sampled the delicious soups and desserts.

A big thanks goes to the many generous private soup and dessert chefs, as well as the Glory Days Grill, Panera Bread, Grandma’s Diner, Alfredo’s Mediterranean Café, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Chik-fil-A, and Shepherd University Dining Services.

Participants and supporters who shared in the success of this first event were the Charles Town Presbyterian Church, the staff and Board of the Partnership for Affordable Housing, Bob Shefner, Jefferson County Community Ministries, Pastor John Unger, the City of Ranson, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson Security Bank, City National Bank, Printing Impressions, E*TRADE, the Family Resource Network, and the many caring members of the community who attended the supper.

We hope to see you at the next Soup Supper which will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017, at the Charles Town Presbyterian Church.

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is held each year the week before Thanksgiving. This is a perfect time for us all to reflect on what we are truly thankful for and to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. It is also an opportunity to work collectively toward a world where no one has to experience hunger and homelessness. Please visit Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week for more information.

Thank you for your support!

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