Deadline TODAY, Sept 14, to enter lottery for Maui first-time homebuyer grants

September 14, 2010, 8:03 AM HST · Updated September 14, 8:04 AM
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Today is the deadline to submit an application to be in the lottery for the county’s first-time homebuyers grant fund program.  Under the program, qualified first-time homebuyers can get assistance with up to $15,000 for a down payment or closing costs.

Lottery cards are available from the Evergreen Home Loans office on Hoohana Street in Kahului. Applications/lottery cards are also available from the County Housing Division Administration office at 35 Lunalilo Street, Suite 102, Wailuku, HI  96793. Completed application/lottery cards must be received by the Housing Division Administration office by 4:30 p.m., September 14, 2010. The drawing takes place next week Wednesday, September 22.

Last year the county was able to assist 13 families through the program before funding ran out.  This year, about 20 families are expected to benefit from the program.  Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced the $200,000 was made available so that the program could be offered this year.

“This County program will help middle-income families purchase their first home,” said Mayor Tavares. “Getting a down payment and finding money to pay for closing costs are major obstacles for many home buyers,” said Tavares.

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Applicants will be selected through a lottery drawing process to take place at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria at 795 Onehee Street in Kahului.

Only 75 preliminary application/lottery cards will be drawn.  The applicants of the first 20 cards drawn will be notified in writing that they must complete and sign formal applications to submit with signed tax returns of the last three years, which must be returned within 10 days of the date of the letter.  The remaining applicants will be alternates prioritized in the order that their cards were drawn should any of the first 20 applicants fail to meet their obligations or grant qualification criteria.

To qualify for the first-time homebuyer’s program, applicants must live in Maui County, be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and meet income and asset requirements.

The County has set the maximum household income for participation in the program at 140 percent of Maui County’s median income, which is $106,400. (The income is established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.) The income cap as adjusted by the county for the residents of Hana is $91,616; Lanai, $92,666; and Molokai $70,798.

Applicants may not hold more than a 50 percent interest in fee simple or leasehold land suitable for residential development, or have assets totaling more than $10,000, including cash, securities, stocks, bonds, or interest in real property. Retirement accounts and pension funds will not be included in determining applicants’ total assets.

Grantees must repay the grant if they refinance the first mortgage loan and take cash out; no longer use the property as a principal residence; or if they sell the property.

For more information, call the Housing Division Administration office at 270-7351, or Evergreen Home Loans at 873-3480, or e-mail the Housing Division Administration office at [email protected].

File photo of last year's first-time home buyer grant recipients, courtesy County of Maui.

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