A new housing initiative is offering to help cover the cost of a down payment for prospective Lloydminster homebuyers.
Until Nov. 4, community-minded Lloydmintserites with an annual household income of less than $74,000 can apply for assistance through the Community Housing Initiative Program (CHIP). Applicants must also be over the age of 18, currently renting in Lloydminster and not have an existing mortgage.
There are eight two-storey townhouses available. The homes cover 829 square feet and include two bedrooms, one bathroom and a fully-landscaped yard. The units are valued at approximately $236,145 each. A five per cent down payment would be $11,807.25. The applicant would be responsible for $3,000, with CHIP covering the balance including closing fees.
CHIP is a joint project between the City of Lloydminster and the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation. Funding also comes from Synergy Credit Union, Glencoe Developments, Musgrave Agencies and Politeski Strilchuk Milen Lawyers, as well as other community partners.
The city ran a CHIP pilot project in 2013-2014. Around 30 people applied for five houses that year, contributing about $2,500 each towards their down payments.
“For 2015-2016 we’re anticipating high numbers,” cultural and social services general manager Patrick Lancaster said.
“We’ve had lots of interest and lots of individuals calling and asking, ‘When is the CHIP program going to run again?’ ‘How can I get in for the CHIP program?’ There’s been lots of community interest since that initial run.”
In order to qualify for the program, applicants will have to prove that they have the financial resources to be able to afford a mortgage once approved. The application requires prospective homebuyers to disclose financial information including their income, rent, investments, debts and vehicle payments.
This information will be reviewed by the CHIP advisory and adjudication committee. The members of this group have yet to be finalized, but the pilot project included representatives from Synergy Credit Union, Musgrave Agencies, the City of Lloydminster and Glencoe Developments.
Applicants must also submit a “letter of community commitment,” which outlines the individual’s community involvement and why they would be a good candidate for the program. Lancaster says it’s important that the successful applicants make good neighbours.
“Many of the individuals who applied had financial needs but also made an effort to be active and contribute to their communities in other ways,” he said.
“It’s not always about putting in lots of hours as a volunteer, it’s those little things that come with being a good neighbour. Understanding what it is to be part of a community.”
Applicants will be required to complete a home-ownership training course. Lancaster describes it as an “informal session” which focuses on financial management and budgeting, condominium bylaws, life skills development and how to be a good neighbour.
“The real value we found from the home-ownership training is by bringing everyone together it gives the successful applicants an opportunity to get to know each other before they move in and start building those relationships,” Lancaster said.
Applications can be picked up at theÂ Community Services office, located on the second floor of the RCMP building, or filled out online at www.lloydminster.ca/CHIP.