The decade-old homeowner program hardly has been used by the public employees it was designed to help. In the last five years, a total of three loans have been issued to OUSD teachers — and one to a police officer, according to a recent staff report.
That might change. The city changed the loan terms in late December to make the program more attractive.
The city’s website has yet to be updated, but this Community and Economic Development Agency report provides a good summary of the program — its history, its participation and reasons for adjusting it.
Here are the terms of the program, in a nutshell:
- The maximum loan amount is now $50,000, up from $20,000.
- First-time buyers are eligible as long as their household income isn’t above 120 percent of the median for the area.
- Instead of a 10-year loan with 6 percent interest and payments due starting in Year 6, it’s a 30-year loan with 3 percent interest. Loan repayment is deferred until the house is sold, refinanced or rented, or 30 years has passed.
- The funding pools for this program and another, the Mortgage Assistance Program, were combined.
Lewis Cohen, Mayor Jean Quan’s education advisor, mentioned to me today that the city started a program about 10 years ago to help teachers buy homes in Oakland. I did a quick online search to see if it was still running, which led me to Jackie Campbell, the homeownership manager for CEDA. Campbell said she wants to spread the word to teachers about the changes.
Of course, the program is partly funded by redevelopment money, which Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed to cut — to provide more funds for schools and other basic services. So we’ll see what happens.
For more info about the Downpayment Assistance Program, you can call (510)238-6201. Here is a brochure with some information about various homebuyer programs.