Mayor Breed to allocate $27 million for housing down payment loans

Mayor London Breed speaks at the opening of the SF Market COVID-19 mass vaccination site in the Bayview District on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday that $27 million will be allocated to loans for down payments for first-time homeowners in San Francisco, in an effort to “make San Francisco a more equitable and affordable place to live,” according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office.

The Downpayment Loan Assistance Program gives up to $375,000 to low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of any market-rate primary residence in San Francisco. The $27 million is a new round of funds for the DALP program, and will fund up to 80 households.

“As we get on the road to recovery, I want to make sure that San Francisco remains a city for all and is a place where people can afford to live,” Mayor Breed said in the release. “Just as we need to keep building housing to ensure we have enough supply, we also need to continue our programs like this one that help people purchase a home, put down roots in the community, and find a place they can call home for years to come.”

Carol Galante, UC Berkeley’s faculty director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, says she thinks programs like this can be effective in preventing gentrification.

“There’s a strong preference for rental housing, and I just think that a well structured government assistance program for helping people purchase is a real vaccine against displacement,” Galante said.

Galante added that programs like this are “one tool in the toolbox” to help city workers, teachers and other essential workers purchase homes in the location where they work, as they otherwise might not be able to afford the high price of home ownership.

DALP was created in 1998, and has given loans to 550 individuals according to Max Barnes, the communications manager at the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

DALP funding is available to:

  • General public households earning up to 175% of Area Median Income, or $156,900 for a single individual
  • Educators employed by the San Francisco Unified School District earning up to 200% AMI or $179,300 for a single individual
  • First responder (active, uniformed members of the Fire, Police, or Sheriff’s Departments) households earning up to 200% AMI or $179,300 for a single individual

With the 2019-2020 funding, the program helped people with household incomes ranging from $76,392 to $212,990.

Applicants must attend 10 hours of first-time homebuyer education and receive first mortgage loan pre-approval from a lender approved by the MOHCD in order to be eligible for the program.

When a homeowner who purchased property through the program decides to sell or transfer their home, they must pay back the loan as well as an equitable share of the appreciation, the release said.

People interested in the program can apply from Feb. 26 to April 27 on the MOHCD website. Applicants are placed in a lottery that will take place June 1.

Other DALP funds that will target “the most vulnerable and under-resourced communities” are scheduled to be released in late summer 2021, the release said.

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