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Community Preservation Committee awards $5 million to ONE+Boston First-Time Homebuyer Program


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Neighborhood Development

The new funding will increase homeownership rates in Boston’s neighborhoods.

Building on her commitment to equity and stable housing in Boston, Mayor Kim Janey today announced that the City's Community Preservation Committee (CPC) awarded $5 million, for inclusion in the FY2021 funding round of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), to the Boston Home Center’s ONE+Boston First-Time Homebuyer Program. The ONE+Boston program gives income-qualified, first-time Boston homebuyers a greater ability to purchase a home in Boston by combining a discount on a low-interest rate mortgage product with down payment/closing assistance. The ONE+Boston program includes the City’s first affordable mortgage product to be created specifically for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who currently live in Boston. 

The vote on the Mayor's recommended slate of projects for Community Preservation Funding was approved by the Boston City Council on Wednesday, March 31st. This additional funding will create more homeownership opportunities for low- and middle-income families and families of color. The ONE+Boston program was created by a partnership between the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA), and several participating banks. 

“The ONE+Boston program creates opportunities to make the dream of owning a home a reality for many Boston residents,” said Mayor Janey. “I want to thank the Community Preservation Committee for their support to expand the ONE+Boston Homebuying Program for qualified first-time homebuyers. The ability for families to purchase a home for a lower rate will increase generational wealth and help address income disparity, thus creating pathways for equity and wealth building in our communities.”

The City of Boston funds generated from the Community Preservation Act will finance a permanent reduction in the interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and offer downpayment/closing cost assistance for income-eligible residents buying their first home within Boston. The interest-rate reduction means new homebuyers can afford a larger mortgage at a lower monthly payment that is still affordable to them, and ultimately, translates into more buying power for the new homebuyer. Five of the Boston Home Center’s Participating Lenders currently offer the Boston ONE+ Program: Boston Private Bank, Santander, Cambridge Trust, Citizens Bank, and the City of Boston Credit Union. 

“Thousands of Boston families, including mine, have benefited from the then Soft Second, now the ONE+ program, which was originally developed 30 years ago to address racial disparities in lending,” said Symone Crawford, Director of Homeownership Education for MAHA. “Today, we are excited to build on that program with Mayor Janey, MHP, and participating banks which will help Boston residents buy in Boston and will help us make progress in closing the racial homeownership gap." 

ONE+Boston was created to enhance the purchasing power of first-time homebuyers earning less than 100% of Area Median Income (AMI), or $95,200 for a two-person household. Homes purchased through this program may be market-rate, or income-restricted. 

“Thanks to the commitment of CPA funds, ONE+Boston will expand our ability to help moderate-income households and people of color,” said Elliot Schmiedl, MHP’s homeownership director. “We’re thrilled to partner with Mayor Janey and the Boston Home Center to help more people build wealth through homeownership in Boston.”

Since ONE+Boston was rolled out in June 2020, the Boston Home Center has received and processed more than 240 applications, and more than 70 Boston residents have successfully purchased new homes. Of these new homebuyers, more than 70% of those helped by the ONE+Mortgage Program are households of color, and 60% of the new homebuyers earned at or below 80% of AMI or $76,200 for a two-person household.

"As a first time home buyer nothing is more stressful than navigating the home buying process." said Gisell Bello, a resident of Roxbury buying a home in Hyde Park. "The ONE+ Program and the Boston Home Center gave me the support, knowledge, and funding to help me purchase a beautiful new home for my family in a neighborhood I love. I would not have been able to buy this home without this program and the help of Urban Edge throughout the buying process. My children and I are so happy with the outcome. I can't thank the Boston Home Center and Mayor Janey enough for their commitment to the ONE+ Program." 

The ONE+Boston program is one of several city resources available to first-time homebuyers in Boston. Through the Boston Home Center, the City’s one-stop-shop for homebuyers and homeowners, residents can receive assistance in purchasing, improving, and keeping their home through a suite of resources including training, financial help and counseling to first-time homebuyers, guidance, and funding for homeowners for home improvements, and counseling to help families avoid foreclosure. The Home Center also markets homes developed for income-eligible, first-time homebuyers. 

For more information about how to apply, visit the ONE+Boston program website.

About the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND)

The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is also conducting tenant’s rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium and their rights. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division works with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information, please visit the DND website.

About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)

After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.

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