Efforts are underway to ensure the dream of owning a home doesn’t go unrealized.
The Project Build Society has informed the City of Vernon of plans to construct 42 units for people to purchase after receiving assistance with the down payment.
“It could fulfill a real need in the community and it sounds really positive,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.
The thrust of the society is to assist families who earn between $60,000 and $100,000, and can afford mortgage payments, but don’t have sufficient funds for the down payment.
“It’s for what a lot of people call the shrinking middle class. It’s a kick-start program,” said Leanne Hammond, Project Build Society executive director.
“The Okanagan housing situation is far more expensive than other parts of the country. It’s challenging for families to get the down payment together. A lot of people are paying for rent what they could be paying to a mortgage if they could put the down payment together.”
Applicants must have the ability to handle the mortgage payment, have a stable job and have a good credit history.
If successful, they will receive a non-repayable down payment of seven to 10 per cent. The funds come from developers, suppliers, employers, realtors and community donors.
Hammond hopes to bring financial stability to families, allow them to remain in Vernon and become active members of the community.
“They are looking for a hand up, not a hand out.”
Besides assisting families, the program keeps construction workers busy during a slow time.
“It really spikes building activity in the community,” said Hammond.
Such a program was initiated a few years ago in Lake Country, with 50 units developed.
“There have been no defaults on any of the mortgages. It’s creating good, qualified buyers where there are none,” said Bill Hubbard, with Century 21, who supports the initiative.
“It’s an ideal program for where we are in the marketplace.”
Future units in Vernon could be possible as there are currently 75 applications for assistance.
The Project Build Society is asking the City of Vernon for a letter of support for its activities and for city staff to work with them to explore housing opportunities.