City Council Increases Amount of Home Loans for Low-Income Residents | News, Sports, Jobs
OGDEN – In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, City Council voted to increase loan amounts through the city’s Own in Ogden program, available to low- and middle-income residents citywide. .
The city government has proposed changing the program guidelines to increase the amounts from $5,000 – doubling them to $10,000 – with zero-interest, deferred-payment loans, in a bid to keep up with the increase in real estate costs.
Thanks to changes in the real estate market, the median home price in Ogden has increased by 48% since January 2020, from $229,500 to $340,000.
The loan program was established in 1988 to provide down payment assistance to homebuyers in certain neighborhoods. Original loan amounts for homes purchased in the mid-east were $5,000 and $3,000 in other eligible areas of the city.
According to city documents, the main guidelines outlining the program remained unchanged from 1988 until 2002, when the city changed it to a zero-interest, deferred-payment loan with a pro-rated forgiveness schedule.
In February 2019, the board approved removing geographic targeting requirements and increasing loan amounts from $3,000 to $5,000.
Ogden City police and firefighters received increased loan amounts in May 2020 as well as loan forgiveness if they stay home and with either service for 10 years. “If they stay for 10 years, they’re more willing to stay even longer at this point,” said Ward Ogden, community development manager at the Ogden City Housing Authority.
These emergency service personnel are a unique category within the program as they are the only ones eligible for a $20,000 loan.
According to Ogden, the reasoning behind offering loan forgiveness to police and firefighters after 10 years was for job retention.
“We want to support our police officers, teachers and city staff so they can afford housing,” said council member Angela Choberka.
Qualified city employees and new hires who reside out of town or rent in town are eligible for a $15,000 loan as well as full-time, state-certified teachers and administrators from kindergarten to grade 12 in schools serving Ogden students.
According to Choberka, the amounts previously offered were not sufficient to qualify for a mortgage. With money already allocated to the program, Choberka said it made sense to increase the loan amounts so that the funds would be used.