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All About Assistance Grants for Homeowners

Homeownership is something that many people strive for. But, as housing costs continue to rise, the dream of having a place to call your own may feel as if it is slipping through your fingers. That being said, Gulf Winds offers two types of assistance grants to help make the dream of homeownership a reality. Below is helpful information regarding these types of assistance grants. 

Rundown

In a nutshell, Gulf Winds homeowner assistance grants can help reduce the principal on your home loan. They can also assist with down payment and closing costs. Gulf Winds offers grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 for eligible borrowers on a first come, first serve basis.

“It makes being a homeowner more affordable,” said Emily Dykes, Assistant Vice President of Mortgage at Gulf Winds. “It really helps people get into their own home.” 

To qualify, your household income must be at or below 80% of the county area or state median income. For example, a household of four in Escambia County, Florida cannot make more than $67,120 a year. To qualify for a grant, homeowners must contribute a minimum of $1,000 toward their home purchase. They are also required to attend a designated homebuyer counseling program, which Gulf Winds will help homebuyers enroll in. Classes are $275 and are completely online. One thing to note about homeowner assistance grants is that if you own and occupy your home for at least five years, you do not have to pay back the grant. Contrary, if you move or sell your home before the mandatory five years pass, you will be required to pay back the grant. 

First-Time Home Buyer Grants

Gulf Winds first-time home buyer grants offer assistance of up to $12,500 for people who are purchasing a home for the first time. In addition to victims of catastrophic loss ornatural disasters, assistance is available to displaced homemakers who have only owned a home with their spouse. Additionally, they are available to single parents who have only owned a home with their former spouse. Assistance is also available to people who have only owned property that is not in compliance with state, local, or model build codes. Further, Gulf Winds first-time home buyer grants are open to those who have only owned a residence that was not affixed to a permanent foundation. 

Community Partner Grants

Gulf Winds community partner grants of up to $15,000 are available to first-time and non-first-time homeowners who have or currently work in qualifying professions. Grants are available to those who work or have worked as law enforcement officers, educators, health care workers, firefighters, or EMTs. They are also available to active-duty United States military members, veterans, and their spouses. One new component of community partner grants is that they are now available to COVID-related essential workers. As defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, essential workers are people who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continue critical infrastructure operations. This includes people who work in the energy, agriculture, transportation, childcare, and other sectors. 

Related Programs

Like Gulf Winds, state and local governments offer their own homeowner assistance programs. Qualifying Floridians can apply for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) First-Time Homebuyers Program, which provides up to $25,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The HOME homebuyer program can also provide low income Floridians up to $12,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance. The City of Pensacola is also offering up to $30,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance for low income homebuyers through the American Rescue Plan Act. Each of these programs require applicants to attend a certified homebuyer education course. Likewise, the Escambia County Housing Finance Authority, which serves 21 counties in Florida, offers up to $7,500 in down payment and closing costs assistance. For Alabamians, the Alabama Housing Finance Authority Step Up program offers down payment assistance of up to 4% of the home price or $10,000, whichever is less. Comparably, the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program offers up to $12,500 in down payment assistance for qualifying homebuyers in the state of Georgia. 

Although homeowner assistance grants won’t cover all of your home-buying expenses, they can be useful in the long run. Homeownership not only benefits individuals but also communities, as it builds stability and generational wealth. If you are not in need of an assistance grant, Gulf Winds offers other mortgage loan options, including conventional, refinance, and home equity loans. 

Interested in receiving a homeowner assistance grant? Gulf Winds can help you out. 


Hunter Morrison

Hunter Morrison

Hunter has freelanced for various print and radio publications across Northwest Florida, including The Bay Beacon, Navarre Press, Inweekly, Crestview News Bulletin, and WUWF. He was also the Editor in Chief of the University of West Florida’s student newspaper, The Voyager. In 2023, Hunter moved to Kenai, Alaska to take up a news reporting position with KDLL Public Radio. For fun, Hunter enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, photography, thrifting, traveling, and looking for the best Thai food around. 

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