S.F. Mayor Edwin M. LeeSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — S.F. Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell today launched the down payment home loan assistance program for San Francisco first responders who are active member of the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco Fire Department, or the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) will administer the program, which was created after San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed the Housing Trust Fund Initiative in November 2012.

“San Francisco must remain a viable place to live and work for people at all levels of the economic spectrum and the Housing Trust Fund helps us do just that,” said Mayor Lee. “The new down payment assistance program will help keep working families in San Francisco and increase homeownership opportunities for San Francisco first responders, who make sacrifices every day to keep our City safe. I thank Supervisor Mark Farrell and the entire Board of Supervisors for supporting the Housing Trust Fund and our City’s first responders.”

“When the Housing Trust Fund Initiative was being drafted, I led the charge at the Board of Supervisors for the inclusion of down payment home loan assistance for our city’s first responders after hearing from many of them that they wanted to live in the City they serve and love because, unfortunately, the majority of them don’t live within the city limits,” said Supervisor Farrell. “I think we can all agree that having the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday living throughout our City’s various neighborhoods strengthens our communities and provides the opportunity for them to be safer in times of crisis and need.”

The new down payment home loan assistance program for San Francisco first responders must be used for homeownership and purchase of a single family residence, which includes condominiums and townhouses, located in San Francisco. First responders who qualify for the down payment home loan assistance program for San Francisco’s first responders:
• Must be an active member of the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco Fire Department or the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department;
• Must not have owned any interest in a principal residence in San Francisco during the last three years;
• Must not own an interest in any other principal residence at close of escrow;
• Must have at least 5 percent down payment contribution toward the purchase price (a minimum of three percent must be from the borrower’s own funds, and the remaining two percent can be from gift funds);
• Must complete a home buyer counseling course from one of the participating non-profit housing counseling agencies approved by MOHCD;
• Must occupy the property as principal residence after purchase;
• Each household is limited to one loan regardless of the number of first responders in that household; and
• Household income is limited to 200 percent of the Area Median Income as published by MOHCD.

Approved by voters in November 2012, the Housing Trust Fund begins with a general fund revenue capture in year one of $20 million and increase to $50 million over time. It is estimated that $1.5 billion will be invested in affordable housing production and housing programs over the next 30 years. The Housing Trust Fund will:
• Develop more than 9,000 units of permanently affordable housing for residents whose average median income is 60 percent or below;
• Create incentives for onsite below market rate housing and make housing more accessible for moderate income families;
• Invest at least $15 million over the first five years to expand the City’s down payment assistance program (DALP) which provides interest-free loans to moderate income homebuyers who are looking to purchase their first home in San Francisco. DALP will also include a new program to assist the City’s first responders in the purchase of a home in San Francisco;
• Create a Housing Stabilization Program to help distressed low and moderate income residents remain in their homes; and
• Create a Complete Neighborhoods Infrastructure Grant program to fund public realm improvements such as “pocket” parks and child care facilities for growing neighborhoods.

The Housing Trust Fund will capture revenue from former Redevelopment Agency Tax Increment, a small portion of Hotel Tax that has been appropriated yearly for affordable housing, plus an additional $13 million in new General Fund revenue from an increase in business license fees. The consensus business tax reform measure, Proposition E, which also passed on the November ballot, will generate $28.5 million in the first year – $13 million of which will go to fund affordable and workforce housing.