- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The D.C. government began issuing $17 million in bonds yesterday to help moderate- and low-income families buy homes.

“Now that commercial interest rates are climbing back up, this program can be a real lifesaver to people who want to buy a home,” said City Administrator Robert C. Bobb.

Mr. Bobb said the program also helps fulfill a promise by outgoing Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat, to bring 100,000 new residents into the District.

Under the initiative, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency will put the money into the D.C. Bond program for two types of loans: a 30-year, fix-rate loan at 4.7 percent and a 5.95 percent assisted fixed-rate loan that also includes a grant for a down payment and closing costs.

“The mayor is encouraging everyone in the District who is eligible for this program to take advantage,” Mr. Bobb said.

An administration spokes-man said Mr. Williams was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Milton J. Bailey, executive director of the District’s Housing Finance Agency, said homeownership is key to helping residents “gain family wealth, decrease the possibility of displacement and provide stability for their families.”

Officials said the program is open to first-time home buyers, those who have not owned a primary residence in the past three years and existing homeowners who must purchase in targeted areas.

Buyers who receive the loans still will be eligible for the federal $5,000 D.C. Homebuyer Tax Credit.

Loans also can be used with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Home Purchase Assistance Program, the Metropolitan Police Housing Assistance Program and the Employee Assistance Housing Program, officials said.

The District is providing information and workshops on the loans. The participating banks are B.F. Saul, Industrial Bank and Sun Trust Mortgage.

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