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Money for Home Ownership

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) has money available for first time home buyers anywhere in New England. Grants of up to $50,000 are available and can be combined with other Massachusetts and local programs to help you get into your first home. As with other programs, you must be income qualified based on the Area Median Income (AMI) with programs for incomes under 80% AMI and up to 120% AMI. In Berkshire County the 2023 100% AMI is $81,200 for a family of two, $101,500 for a four person family and is proportionate to family size. Grants can be applied to owner occupied multi-family buildings but the rental income is counted against the qualifying income limits.

The Equity Builder Program (EBP) provides up to $29,000 and is limited to 80% AMI with only $500 minimum down payment from the buyer. For those who are fortunate to have a little higher income but still find housing out of reach there are two programs that extend qualifying to 120% AMI which has become known as "workforce housing." The Housing our Workforce program can provide up to $25,000 with a 3% minimum down payment. Another new and exciting program Lift Up Home ownership (LUH) is for "people of color" with grants up to $50,000. People can self identify as a person of color loosely defined as Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska native, Asian including Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Hispanic or Latino. This program is brand new and they are accepting applications now.

These programs have substantial funding but every year the money runs out so it is best to get in as early as you can. Before you find a house you can begin by sitting with a mortgage banker who is familiar with the FHLB programs. They can guide you and help you qualify. There are houses out there and money to help you and your family get into one. In the Berkshires Adams Community Bank (former Lenox Savings Bank) 413 281-8769, Greylock Federal Credit Union 413 347-6114, Lee Bank 413 243-9290, and Pittsfield Cooperative Bank 413 629-1635 participate in the FHLB programs.

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