NeighborhoodLIFT, a down payment assistance program, is newly available to prospective home buyers in Alaska.

“It’s actually a nationwide program that Wells Fargo is doing with NeighborWorks America,” said Nadine Winters, executive director of Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services.

Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing in the community. The organization is an affiliate of NeighborWorks America and partners with Wells Fargo for the NeighborhoodLIFT program, which launched in Alaska for the first time on Monday.

NeighborhoodLIFT functions as a grant program, according to Winters, with eligible buyers able to receive a $10,000 down payment assistance grant. Additionally, first responders, teachers and military members may be eligible for up to a $12,500 grant. Military members include both veterans and active duty service members, while first responders include police, firefighters, EMT and village public safety officers.

“We fought for the village public safety officers (to be included) because it is unique to Alaska and our rural communities,” said Judith Crotty, the Alaska community development officer with Wells Fargo.

This year, Wells Fargo announced a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to housing affordability through 2025, according to Crotty. This is the 73rd NeighborhoodLIFT program launch the company has conducted in the United States since 2012. The $3 million in funding to the Alaska program roughly equates to 250 people being granted assistance.

Crotty said Wells Fargo is excited to bring the program to the state.

“It is the American dream, and the Alaskan dream to own a home and Wells Fargo is doing their part to make that dream come true,” she said.

The funding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. After the initial investment is provided by Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America and affiliates manage the application process. Locally, that falls to Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing.

“So basically they contribute the money and then in terms of the actual dispensing and eligibility determinations, Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing is doing those,” Winters said.

As part of the criteria for the program, applicants can’t exceed 100% of area median income. Once people apply through the NeighborWorks Alaska website, there is a session scheduled to determine eligibility for a grant.

The website also includes a list of approved lenders for mortgages, as prospective homeowners may work with multiple lenders to use the program, not just Wells Fargo or NeighborWorks America.

As Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services offers three different down payment assistance programs which now include NeighborhoodLIFT, Winters added she would encourage people who are even thinking about it to do the math and see if one of the assistance programs works for them.

Since the Monday launch of NeighborhoodLIFT, there have already been applications coming in and eligibility determination meetings being set up, according to Winters.

“I definitely have some Fairbanks appointments next week,” she said.

For more information on the program and a link to apply, readers can visit www.nwalaska.org/lift

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMlocal.

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