Would be homeowners in Chalmers could be one step closer to owning their own houses in the neighbourhood.
For the first time, the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, in conjunction with Manitoba Housing, is offering a home buyer assistance program.
"It’s for families with dependants who are renting who would like to own a home in this neighbourhood," explained Liz Plett, housing support co-ordinator for the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation.
While priority is given to those already living in Chalmers (between Munroe Avenue and the Red River, Henderson Highway and Raleigh Street), second priority is given to anyone living in Elmwood. Applications may also be considered for anyone who is willing to move to Chalmers, depending on the total number of applicants.
According to recent statistics, approximately 55 per cent of Chalmers residents are homeowners, while the other 45 per cent rent.
"Our goal isn’t to reduce number of renting units, we just want to see people to feel good about staying," explained Plett, a Chalmers resident herself. "We’re looking for stability. It’s to everyone’s advantage to be part of a community for the long term."
For those who qualify, the home buyer assistance program covers a down payment (five per cent) for a home of up to $250,000, along with some of the closing costs.
"Those are big hurdles that keeps people from even thinking about owning a home," Plett said.
To apply for the program, candidates must be pre-approved for a mortgage by a financial institution, and provide letters of reference.
"They need to be able to carry the mortgage and property taxes and all that goes along with owning a home," Plett said.
Successful candidates must commit to staying in their new homes for 10 years, otherwise those costs would need to be repaid, prorated, Plett added.
Applications for the program are due April 30.
In conjunction, the CNRC are also offering a series of free, public workshops on home ownership on Wednesday evenings in April from 6 to 8 p.m. The workshops take place at 180 Poplar Ave.
"We’ll have a home inspector, realtor, insurance, a lawyer, and a financial institution come to talk about what’s all involved in owning a home," Plett said.
Both programs, along with the RentSmart program which recently wrapped up, are part of the CNRC’s Chalmers Neighbourhood Housing Plan, which aims to support neighbourhood tenants, homeowners, and landlords.
"We’re here to help them all," Plett said. "Hopefully, this is something they can get some help with."
Plett added that for current Chalmers homeowners, the CNRC runs a home repair program in conjunction with Manitoba Housing, which can match costs of home repair up to $20,000.
"I still see homes that desperately need repair," Plett said.
For more information on any of the CNRC housing programs, call 204-333-9867.
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112