The City of Tucson is working with the Tucson Industrial Development Authority to distribute $625,000 to help cover home closing costs for approximately 250 essential workers.
The new program, called Housing Fund for Essential Workers, will launch on June 1 and will provide essential workers with up to 1% of the amount of the first mortgage or up to $2,500 of a down payment on a home.
Tucson is investing $500,000 of its U.S. bailout in the initiative, a move Mayor Regina Romero called a “transformative investment” in the community.
“The importance of home ownership in our community cannot be understated or overstated. Essential workers have kept us safe during the pandemic, they have continued to work to keep us all safe and our economy running,” Romero said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The program comes at a time when housing prices are rising in the region. In 2020, about 91% of Tucson homebuyers had a home loan approved for about $215,000, according to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Average sales prices for all new and existing homes were $303,356 in January 2020 and reached $422,407 in January 2022.
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Dr. Thompson, CEO of the Tucson Industrial Development Authority, said she began working with other local real estate groups to find a way to lower barriers to homeownership after the city’s commerce committee ‘Arizona House had received a report in February stating that if an intervention was ‘That said, essential workers would be ‘excluded from the housing market in Arizona’.
“Essential workers are the foundation of our workforce, and it is so vital that they can access the benefits of home ownership, the stability it brings, the opportunity to provide wealth generational to families who haven’t always had that,” Thompson said, later adding, “I feel like that exemplifies what public-private partnerships should look like, that community partners embedded in an issue come together to develop programs.”
Recipients of the Housing Fund for Essential Workers must qualify for the Pima Tucson Homebuyers Solution program, which provides down payment assistance to cover out-of-pocket mortgage expenses. The program says its participants receive an average of $14,000 in 100% repayable loans and save $16,500 in closing costs and down payment if they stay in their home for three years.
Occupations eligible for the loan are those described by the Centers for Disease Control as medical and non-medical essential workers. Some of these skilled occupations include hospital workers, pharmacists, healthcare facility workers, first responders, veterinarians, educators, postal workers, transit workers, manufacturing plant workers, agricultural workers and food service workers.
While the Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation is the fund’s title sponsor, several groups such as Family Housing Resources/FHR CARES, the Tucson Industrial Development Authority, and the Pima Industrial Development Authority also sponsor the program.
To learn more about the program, visit EssentialWorkersHousingFund.com.
Contact journalist Nicole Ludden at [email protected]