Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Hobart’s Run Launches Homeownership Incentive

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Hobart's Run.

Hobart’s Run, The Hill School-backed neighborhood development group, is launching a pilot program designed to help residents buy homes in the around surrounding the school.

Called the The Hobart’s Run Homeownership Incentive Program, it is aimed at helping homebuyers cover closing costs on homes purchased as primary residences in the Hobart’s Run neighborhood in Pottstown. 

The program will award approved applicants a forgivable loan of $5,000 toward closing costs, starting this fall. 

Eligible applicants for this program must purchase a home within Pottstown’s Hobart’s Run district, which consists of approximately 600 parcels in the borough within Queen Street in the south; North Adams on the west; Beech, Grant, and Jackson streets on the north; and Keim Street on the east. 

The successful applicant must maintain primary residence in the home until the loan is forgiven.

Twila Fisher
The applicant does not need to be a first-time homebuyer in order to be eligible for these funds, but may not have owned another home within the past two years and must be moving from a rental situation in the borough and into Hobart’s Run homeownership.  

Funds from the rental of a home recently renovated by Hobart’s Run and now occupied will be utilized to provide more HIP forgivable loans.

“While not a panacea, there is substantial research showing a tie between increasing homeownership and improved community stability,” Twila Fisher, director of community and economic development for Hobart’s Run and The Hill School, said in a release announcing the program. 

 “Homeownership often offers not only tangible economic benefits to families but also strengthens entire communities, through means ranging from increased civic participation of the owners, to enhanced property maintenance and improvements," Fisher said in the release.

“The HIP program serves the Hobart’s Run mission to help make Hobart’s Run – and all of Pottstown – ‘clean and green,’ safe, and inclusive -- and, of course, to encourage homeownership,” Fisher said. “By strengthening this neighborhood, we hope to inspire additional revitalization efforts throughout the town.”

PROCESS AND LOAN TERMS

Applicants will need to fill out the Hobart’s Run HIP application and other related documentation. Interested parties should email hobartsrun.pottstown@gmail.com or call Fisher at 610-705-1016 to receive details and a copy of the application.

All completed application packages will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis at Hobart’s Run, c/o 860 Beech St., Pottstown, PA 19464 or the above email address.

The applicant’s mortgage loan may not exceed $250,000 and must be issued by a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac approved lender. The buyer must contribute at least $500 toward the home purchase and, as stated, must use the property as a principal residence at least until the loan is fully forgiven. The $5,000 is forgivable at the rate of $1,000 per year over five years.

Prior to settlement, the buyer must agree to attend a driving tour and short presentation about Hobart’s Run as well as a two-hour homeownership and financial literacy class.

“Learning about and embracing our neighborhood is an important aspect of our focus as a community-building organization,” says Cathy Skitko, Senior Director of Hobart’s Run Communications. “We would love to see more new homeowners and other new residents participating in Hobart’s Run block clean-ups and other neighborhood and Pottstown events.”

Closing on the property must occur within 90 days of acceptance into the HIP program.

The loan will be recorded with the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds as a lien on the property until it is fully forgiven. At that time, a loan forgiveness certificate will be issued to the homeowner and the Recorder of Deeds office will be notified of loan completion. If the buyer defaults on these restrictions, the loan will be due immediately and must be paid in full.

This program was developed using Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) procedural guidelines.

The HIP initiative is one of numerous ‘clean and green’ and safety enhancement programs implemented by Hobart’s Run. A few examples include block clean-ups and an “Adopt-a-Trashcan” effort; support of Edgewood Cemetery’s restoration and maintenance; installation of  security cameras in the Borough; acquisition of a DCED grant to install streetlights and repair sidewalks in the 600 and 700 blocks of Beech Street (with work scheduled to begin soon); the launch of a Façade Improvement Grant (FIG) program (pending as Hobart’s Run finalizes documentation); renovation of two distressed properties; and collaboration with investors to promote private real estate activity.

Hobart’s Run also partners with other organizations and leads numerous other initiatives to encourage business development and support healthy, Pottstown community-wide events.

A 501(c)(3), the Hobart's Run neighborhood initiative was officially launched by The Hill School in 2016 to work with residents and property owners to revitalize the neighborhood through projects that create a clean, safe, and inclusive community; provide incentives for home ownership and home improvements; and generate positive, sustainable commercial and retail development. 

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