Andrew Tardieu and his wife, Kelly, searched for homes around Huntington last year unsure of what they could afford or how long it would take them to even cover a down payment.
That’s where Suffolk County came in.
Through a federally funded program for first-time home buyers, the county administered a $14,000 award to the young couple to help with their down payment. By January, they had closed on a tidy brick ranch in Huntington Station.
“We would’ve still been saving,” said Andrew Tardieu, 29, who works in retail management. “This gave us the kick-start that we needed.”
The Tardieus welcomed County Executive Steve Bellone to their home yesterday for his announcement that a new round of aid from Suffolk’s Down Payment Assistance Program is now available. The long-standing program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will give a total of $500,000 to recipients — now a maximum of $10,000 apiece — in 2012.
“This is a pivotal step in the process of home ownership,” Bellone said.
Applications will be taken until Sept. 30; awards for qualifying home buyers will be first-come, first-served. Homes must be appraised at less than $362,790 and not already in contract.
Buyers must attend mortgage counseling, meet maximum income levels for household size (example: $68,800 for two), and not rent the property.
Purchases aided by the grant may be made in all areas of the county except the towns of Babylon — which has its own similar program — and Islip.
Peter Elkowitz, who heads the Long Island Housing Partnership, an affordable housing nonprofit, said he recommends Suffolk’s program to hundreds of first-time buyers each year. Andrew and Kelly Tardieu were among them.
“The number one obstacle, for most people, is the down payment,” Elkowitz said. “This gives them some help.”