COEUR d'ALENE -- School teachers, firefighters, food service workers, workers in manufacturing -- the very people working in the community beside you -- now have increased opportunity for that fundamental piece of the American dream: home ownership.
"The ability to provide workforce housing for the community and the businesses that are here, helps make a more stable and economic climate for the whole county," he said.North Idaho Housing Coalition, which registered for its 501 (c) 3 status in February 2008, will see its first participants, Steve and Michelle Bowen, move into a new home in February of next year."It's going to give us ... the security we have been looking for, for the past eight years," said Michelle who added that it had been a long and frustrating process to find an affordable home for her family of five.Monies donated from Copper Basin Construction to North Idaho Housing Coalition assist buyers with the cash needed to purchase one of the Copper Basin homes. The expense is recorded as a "soft" second mortgage against the property, but no interest or payments are required.Homeowners have three ways of paying off the loan: By refinancing the original mortgage, buyers can pay off the loan directly as soon as they are financially capable.For homes purchased between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009, a $7,500 first-time homeowners tax credit, available from the federal government, can be claimed on the purchaser's income tax return. Davis said she was particularly excited about the credit, as it would allow repayment of the second mortgage in a matter of months, thereby recirculating cash back to NIHC to assist other families.In the third scenario, owners sell their homes, repaying the second mortgage to NIHC, in addition to a ratioed share of the equity."The idea is simply so that when the money comes back to the coalition, they can help somebody in the same way that they helped you," Davis said.While not everyone may be at the financial juncture to qualify for the second mortgage program, Davis and Isenberg said NIHC is committed to aiding people wherever they may be on the journey to home ownership. In addition to the community service component, NIHC requires participants to take a first-time homebuyers educational program.Mountain West Bank and Panhandle State Bank are also partnering with the North Idaho Housing Coalition to set up the mortgages and can work with people who have imperfect credit."The lenders from the different institutions ... are collaborating on these loans so that no one gets lost. If there is a better program at another institution, send them over there," Davis said.Additionally, NIHC works with the lenders to get people into mortgages with a monthly payment similar to their rent. Based on a six percent, 30-year fixed loan for a new home costing $129,900, payments could be as low as $780, according to information provided by the coalition."We want this to be a positive, positive, positive experience," Davis said, "positive with your loan, positive with your counseling, and positive with your education.""I think one of the things that we've certainly liked about (NIHC's) approach and why we're willing to step up and support it is, it's not just you either fit or you don't," said Copper Basin President Steve White. "It keeps (potential buyers) engaged with somebody ... to get them there. If it's not today maybe it's six months, maybe it's a year," he said."We don't want 'no' to be an option," Davis said.For more information contact Lori at (208) 665-9922 or Linda at (208) 755-3637 or go to www.northidahohousing.org.