Commissioners Approve Loan Program for Affordable Housing

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SWEETWATER COUNTY– During Tuesday’s Sweetwater County Commissioner meeting, the board unanimously approved for the Cheyenne Housing Authority to implement a program in Sweetwater County that would provide second loan opportunities for qualified households.

The Welcome Home Wyoming Program provides second loan opportunities for purchase of affordable housing within Sweetwater County by qualifying low to moderate income households.

Greg Hancock, Executive Director of the Cheyenne Housing Authority, said the program has been offering grant assistance to Wyoming families since 2015. The program works through local banks to provide the benefit.

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The commissioners were given two options to approve. The first option would have approved the program indefinitely, until the board decided to withdraw.

The second option would approve the program for a three year term, and then would be up for commissioner review.

The commissioners voted for the second option, as it would allow them to revisit it to see if it is actually helping low to moderate income households in Sweetwater County.

As of Tuesday, eight Wyoming counties had already approved the program, two counties were considering it at the same time as Sweetwater County, and Sublette County was having their lawyer review it.

The commissioners chose to approve the program, as Hancock said there is no liability for the county and the money is fronted by the approved lender, and US Bank reimburses the lender.

“There is no direct consequence at all,” Hancock said of the county’s responsibility.

Since the program started up in 2015, over 625 loans have been acquired by families in need, according to Hancock. He said Sweetwater County residents have gotten around 11 loans over the past few years.

Welcome Home Wyoming Program Process Overview

The process for using the Welcome Home Wyoming Program includes borrowing money from an approved lender to participate in the program. The lender must work in Wyoming and be an approved Correspondent Lender with US Bank.

The Cheyenne Housing Authority has moved from providing down payment assistance to second mortgage assistance, as it can provide a lower interest rate on first mortgages, and is offered at zero percent interest.

In addition second mortgage is forgivable after three years, according to Hancock, as long as the household has closed on the loan, is still in the home, and is making timely payments.

To qualify for the program, a person must have a minimum credit score of 640, and a maximum debt to income ratio of 50 percent. Income limits depend on the county.