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Down-payment grants available to help LI home buyers

Long Islanders struggling to save for a down

Long Islanders struggling to save for a down payment can learn more about $25,000 grants for home buyers at a meeting in Copiague next week. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Long Islanders struggling to save for a down payment can learn more about $25,000 grants for home buyers at a meeting in Copiague next week.

The event will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Tanner Park Pavilion on Kerrigan Road.

Representatives of the not-for-profit group Community Housing Innovations, the Town of Babylon and Century 21 Adams Real Estate will provide information about home-buying assistance for low- and middle-income residents of Long Island and Westchester.

The grants, which average $25,000, will go to families who meet federal income limits and certain other requirements, said Rick Lepkowski, senior manager at Community Housing Innovations, which has offices in Patchogue, Hempstead and White Plains.

The upper income limit for a single person is about $66,000, and for a family of four it's about $94,000, Lepkowski said. Last year the not-for-profit group provided 44 grants to home buyers on Long Island and in Westchester. The grants are funded by $640,000 from the state's Affordable Housing Corp.

Many first-time buyers, Lepkowski said, have the income to qualify for a mortgage but find it "quite challenging" to save for a down payment.

To qualify, grant seekers must take a home buyer education class. The $99 Community Housing Innovations course can be completed online, in three sessions or in one eight-hour day. Babylon-based Century 21 Adams is offering $50 scholarships for the class.

Research has shown those who complete home buyer education courses are more likely to stay current on their mortgages, Lepkowski said: "They have a much better understanding of the home ownership process, and that includes managing one's income, paying taxes and upkeep of the house."

The Town of Babylon and Suffolk County also offer down-payment assistance grants, Lepkowski said.

To register for the information session, go to chigrants.org.

For information call Community Housing Innovations at 631-475-6390 or 516-280- 3243; Babylon Town Hall at 631-957-3000; or Century 21 Adams at 631- 661-7200.

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