Nearly 260 former Portland renters receive grants to buy homes

Here’s a story fit for the season:

This year alone, 259 former renters will be celebrating the holidays in a home they now own in Portland, thanks in part to a collaboration between Wells Fargo, the Portland Housing Center and NeighborWorks America.

Through its NeighborhoodLIFT program, Wells Fargo gave $15,000 down payment assistance grants to 259 eligible homebuyers this year. The grant recipients also received homebuyer education from PHC, a member of the NeighborWorks America international network of more than 235 affordable housing groups.

Program organizers had initially allocated enough funds to help 227 families buy homes in Portland. The response was so huge, Wells Fargo kicked up the number of grants.

“The Portland market proved one of the most successful LIFT events to date,” saidTim Coy, a senior vice president with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “From driving market awareness to the overall support and execution of the program, the Portland team delivered. Customers attending the event were well prepared and were able to quickly find properties to purchase, resulting in the fastest allocation of all LIFT dollars since the program launched in 2012.”

The buyers were free to obtain their mortgage from any lender approved by PHC. For each year the buyer remains in their home, Wells Fargo forgives 20 percent of the grant. If they’re still in the home at the end of five years, they do not have to repay any of their $15,000 grant.

The homebuyers who were awarded grants included teachers, government employees, health care workers and members of the news media. The partners in the program vetted the successful applicants to ensure that they were candidates who would be likely to meet their mortgage payments.

Portland was among 32 housing markets across the country that will benefit from a total of $230 million Wells Fargo has committed through its LIFT programs. Since February 2012, LIFT programs have helped create more than 8,450 homeowners so far in the communities where the programs have been introduced.

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