SOURCE: Neighborworks America

June 21, 2012 14:03 ET

Down Payment Assistance Program Set to Launch This Weekend With City of Tampa, Tampa Bay CDC, Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America

Down Payment Assistance and Homebuyer Education a Winning Combination for Tampa

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2012) - Consumers in the Tampa market looking to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in decades, but who might be struggling to raise sufficient down payment funds, are invited this weekend to the NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) two-day homeownership event organized by the City of Tampa, Wells Fargo, Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation (Tampa Bay CDC) and NeighborWorks America. On June 22 and June 23 at the Tampa Convention Center, West Hall, qualified homebuyers can sign up for homebuyer education offered by Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (CDC of Tampa), an affiliate of Tampa Bay CDC and also a member of the NeighborWorks network. Homeowners who are eligible can also reserve up to $15,000 in down payment assistance funds from Tampa Bay CDC to help bridge a home financing gap. More than 5,750 potential homebuyers have attended prior NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) events in Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) is a multi-market initiative from Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America, the country's preeminent leader in affordable housing and community development designed to help stabilize communities that have been hard hit by the housing downturn. In Tampa, the program's down payment, homebuyer education and additional marketing efforts are led by Tampa Bay CDC.

Florida is one of the states most affected by the foreclosure crisis, ranked second only behind California for foreclosure activity. According to data from Realtytrac.com, Tampa is the third most affected market from foreclosure in Florida.

Qualified prospective homebuyers in the NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) program could use forgivable down payment assistance funds available from Tampa Bay CDC to purchase homes throughout the City of Tampa. More information on how to qualify, such as income limits and household size, as well as how to reserve a spot at the event, is available at www.neighborhoodlift.org.

"Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America have built a great alliance to help homebuyers who qualify achieve sustainable homeownership," said Tampa Bay CDC President and CEO Gregory Schwartz. "The people here at Tampa Bay CDC are ready to roll up our sleeves and help everyone who comes through the door take the next step toward homeownership in our city."

All recipients of down payment assistance are required to finish a homebuyer education course offered by CDC of Tampa. Homebuyer education helps homebuyers become familiar with all of the responsibilities of homeownership. Default rates for homeowners who go through homebuyer education and counseling like those offered by Tampa Bay CDC are lower than homeowners who did not participate in pre-purchase counseling and training.

"The homebuyer education part of NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) is extremely important," said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. "All of us have the goal of helping homeowners succeed in the long-run, and we know that homebuyer education leads to more sustainable homeowners."

In 2011, NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) homebuyer education partner CDC of Tampa provided homebuyer education to 264 households.

"Tampa was one of the cities deeply affected by the housing crisis," said Carl Miller, Wells Fargo's Regional President for the Greater Gulf Coast. "Today, despite low home prices and historically low interest rates, many people in Tampa are still unable to purchase a home because they simply cannot afford the down payment. Through NeighborhoodLIFT(SM), Wells Fargo is helping to address this issue by providing the down payment assistance needed to help get people into homes."

About Tampa CDC

Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation is a non-profit HUD approved housing counseling agency whose mission is "Promoting homeownership opportunities to low and median-income residents of the Greater Tampa Bay area." Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation is celebrating 30 years of assisting residents with their homeownership needs.

About NeighborhoodLIFT(SM)

The NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) program is collaboration between Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Foundation, NeighborWorks America, an independent non-profit organization, and local non-profit organizations. The NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) program is designed to provide sustainable homeownership initiatives in cities deeply affected by the housing crisis. A video about the NeighborhoodLIFT(SM) program is posted at www.youtube.com/wellsfargo.

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