FHL Bank SF Provides $12 Million to First Time Homebuyers

SAN FRANCISCO — The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) is providing $12 million to fund matching grants for first-time homebuyers, with $9.4 million allocated to its 2016 Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership (WISH) Program and $2.6 million allocated to its 2016 Individual Development and Empowerment Account (IDEA) Program. Funding for the WISH and IDEA programs is set aside each year from the Bank’s annual Affordable Housing Program contribution, and matching grant funds are disbursed to eligible homebuyers through the cooperative’s member financial institutions.

With the 2016 allocation, 35 FHLBank San Francisco members will use WISH and IDEA funds to assist homebuyers in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other states where Bank members do business. Fifteen of the members are first-time participants. Visit the Bank’s website for a list of members participating in WISH and IDEA this year.

“Homeownership plays a crucial role in narrowing the wealth gap for low- and moderate-income families and individuals,” said Jim Yacenda, Vice President and Community Investment Officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “Over the years, the WISH and IDEA programs have helped make the dream of owning a home possible for thousands of households, which in turn helps build strong and stable communities.”

The WISH and IDEA first-time homebuyer programs offer eligible low- and moderate-income  households 3-to-1 matching grants of up to $15,000 for the purchase of a home, which can be applied to the downpayment or closing costs. WISH grants, which can complement or supplement a variety of local, state, and federal homeownership programs, are targeted to working families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning. The IDEA program, which has been at the forefront of asset-building initiatives since its inception, is directed at homebuyers who have been saving for the purchase of their first home through an Individual Development Account or participating in their local housing authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency homeownership program or a lease-to-own program administered by a nonprofit or government entity.

Both first-time homebuyer programs require participants to complete a homebuyer counseling program administered by an experienced organization. “Our programs are designed to facilitate the homebuyer’s long-term success,” said Marietta Núñez, Vice President, Community Lending at FHLBank San Francisco. “A comprehensive educational component is an important feature of the Bank’s programs, and one that, we believe, is a major driver of the exceedingly low rate of foreclosure we have seen among our homeownership program participants.”

Since 2000, the Bank has funded $73 million in WISH and IDEA matching grants, helping more than 5,500 households become homeowners.