Resources for Clients With Disabilities
See what special programs are offered in your area to help people with disabilities buy or maintain their homes.
April 1, 2005
Buying and maintaining a home can be especially challenging for people with disabilities. If you have a client or customer who has a disability, there may be a program or organization in your area that can provide the assistance they need.
We have created a list of national, state, and local programs that offer mortgage assistance and other types of housing aid to help you better serve those with disabilities. In addition, there are a number of organizations listed that can provide guidance and information about buying a home.
If you know of any programs or organizations that aren’t listed here, please let us know.
Mortgages Products for People With Disabilities
Fannie Mae offers a number of mortgage products and initiatives to provide homeownership opportunities for people with disabilities or with family members who have disabilities. Programs available include:
- Community HomeChoice: For low- to moderate-income people with disabilities or who have a family member with a disability, this program offers flexibility in the areas of loan-to-value ratios (LTVs), downpayment sources, qualifying ratios, and the establishment of credit.
- Community Living: This loan is designed to provide financing for small, community-based group homes for children and adults with disabilities who are unable to live independently. Community Living mortgage loans differ from traditional mortgages in that the qualifying borrowers don’t need to be individuals. Borrowers also can be legal entities, including nonprofit and for-profit corporations, limited partnerships, and government agencies serving adults and children with disabilities.
- Community Lending: A variety of low- and no-downpayment mortgage options help people with disabilities overcome the two primary barriers to homeownership: downpayment funds and qualifying income. These mortgage products and options have lower cash requirements for downpayment and closing costs; reduced income requirements to qualify; and a higher debt allowance and loan-to-value ratio than required for conventional mortgages.
The N.O.A.H. Foundation
The National Opportunities for Affordable Housing Foundation, or N.O.A.H., is a nonprofit agency that educates buyers and sellers to make the best decisions for their unique housing needs. It has a special focus on affordable housing and assistance with downpayments and closing costs.
- Alabama: Access Alabama. Access Alabama makes mortgages more affordable for low- to moderate-income homebuyers who have disabilities or family members with disabilities.
- Connecticut: Connecticut Home of Your Own. This program offers 30-year fixed rate mortgages for persons with disabilities who wish to purchase their first home.
- Florida: 'Helping Hand' Home Loan Program, Fleming Mortgage Services LLC (Ocala, Fla.). For individuals who are disabled and families who have people living with them who are disabled, this program offers flexible home loan terms, including higher loan-to-value ratios, downpayment sources, use of utility bills and other forms of nontraditional credit, and low- and no-downpayment programs. Options are available for residential financing and refinancing in Florida.
- Illinois: HomeChoice (Chicago). This underwriting initiative provides single-family mortgages for low- and moderate-income people who have disabilities or have family members with disabilities living with them. Mortgage loans are tailored to meet the unique needs of people who have disabilities, offering a downpayment as low as $500; greater flexibility in qualifying and underwriting standards; and acceptance of nontraditional credit histories.
- Kansas: Targeted Ownership Program(Serving Topeka, Kan., area). In 2002, Federal Home Loan Bank Topeka implemented the Targeted Ownership Program, a downpayment assistance grant program designed to help disabled first-time homebuyers in urban and rural areas purchase a home. A total of $200,000 has been set aside for the program in 2005.
- Kentucky: Kentucky Special First Mortgage Loan Programs. Kentucky Housing Corp.’s Single-Parent, Disability, and Elderly Program offers fixed 30-year loans for newly constructed houses at interest rates from 1 percent to 6 percent. These limited funds are available, usually in July, on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Maryland: Homeownership for Individuals With Disabilities Program. This program provides low-interest mortgage loans to eligible disabled homebuyers. The total combined income of all members of the household may not exceed $40,150. The maximum purchase price is $120,000 in the Washington, D.C., area and $100,000 in all other areas of the state.
- Mississippi: Mississippi Home of Your Own Program. The goal of the project, run by the Institute of Disability Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi, is to help those with disabilities and their families find counseling, supports, and financial assistance that may allow them to purchase and maintain their own homes. An individual’s income after expenses must be adequate to make monthly mortgage payments on a home.
- New Hampshire: New Hampshire Home of Your Own Program. Working with the New Hampshire Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council, and New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, New Hampshire Housing provides mortgage funding and other support to assist lower-income persons with developmental disabilities achieve homeownership.
- New Jersey: New Jersey Senior and Disabled Cooperative Housing Finance Incentive Program. This program provides construction and/or permanent financing to qualified housing developers of homeownership units or shared living rental units for low- and moderate-income senior citizens and disabled individuals. Mortgages may be available to low- and moderate-income seniors and disabled individuals for the purchase of cooperative housing shares.
- New Mexico: Helping Hand. This is a statewide program to assist first-time homebuyers with disabilities purchase a home. It’s a second-mortgage loan program in which all or part of the downpayment and closing costs can be borrowed. Additional funds may be borrowed for pre-paids, cash reserves, or to rehabilitate the home for accessibility.
- North Dakota: HomeChoice. HomeChoice is a single-family loan product designed to help meet the homeownership needs of people who have disabilities or people who have a family member with a disability living with them. Some of these needs could include buying a new home, repairing or modifying a new home, repairing or modifying an existing home, or refinancing an existing home.
- Oregon: Bridges to Mobility. Bridges to Mobility is a free consulting service for people looking to either purchase a home or make adaptations to their existing residences that emphasize mobility and accessibility. The organization’s ultimate goal is to identify accessible housing allowing individuals to function independently at the highest level possible within their home environment.
- Pennsylvania: Access Downpayment and Closing Cost Assistance Program. Through this program, mortgage loans are available for people with disabilities or those who have a disabled family member living in the household and need downpayment and closing-cost assistance to buy a home. The program provides a deferred-payment loan, with no interest. The loan becomes due and payable upon sale, transfer, refinance, or payoff of the first mortgage or non-owner occupancy of the property.
- Washington: Washington HomeChoice. HomeChoice is a downpayment assistance program for low- and moderate-income people with a disability or who have a family member with a disability living with them and qualify for a conventional mortgage loan using HomeChoice guidelines. Manufactured homes are not allowed.
ADVOCATE GROUPS / RESOURCES
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD created this page as a one-stop resource for people with disabilities. It includes a directory of links from its own site as well as outside Web sites. You can find a state-by-state listing of homebuying programs, learn about homebuying counseling, and access resources on accessible housing designs.
The World Institute on Disability
This non-profit research, public policy, and advocacy center is dedicated to promoting the civil rights and full societal inclusion of people with disabilities. The center offers information on Individual Development Accounts, which provide an opportunity for low-income people to receive saving matches for education, homeownership, or starting up a small business.
Created in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, the ABILITY House is an affordable, accessible home built for a low-income family where one or more members have disabilities. The unique aspect of the ABILITY House program is the use of volunteers with disabilities during all phases of construction, emphasizing their abilities and talents.
Homes for Our Troops
The organization is committed to helping those who have given to their country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries. Homes for Our Troops assists injured veterans and their immediate families by building new or adapting existing homes for handicapped accessibility.
The Homeownership Coalition for People With Disabilities (Serving central Illinois)
The coalition’s mission is to identify and assist all people, regardless of their disability, in purchasing their own home, allowing them to live in their community as independently as possible. The group includes municipalities, banks, companies, and nonprofit groups.
IndependenceFirst (Serving Milwaukee area)
This organization provides assistance to people with disabilities, including help buying a home. That includes teaching money management skills, benefits counseling, and referrals for credit counseling and homeownership counseling agencies. It also has downpayment grants for qualified households that include a member with a disability.
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