Tampa expands program that helps first-time buyers purchase homes

With the issue of affordable housing becoming more serious by the day around Tampa Bay, the city of Tampa is taking steps to try and deal with the problem.

The mayor is expanding one of the city's key housing-programs to make homes more affordable, especially to those in the workforce. For those who take advantage, the outcome can be life changing.

Lifelong Tampa resident Cheryl Hodges Cummings just had one of the best birthdays ever, in part because of the location.

"I moved in a week before my 60th birthday. So I was able to have my party in my yard in my new home," she said. "It was a dream come true."

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It is her very first buying a home and she's still pinching herself.

The purchase was made possible by Tampa's Dare to Own the Dream housing program, which offers down payment assistance for income-eligible, first-time homebuyers in the city.

The program is now expanding, increasing the maximum home purchase price to $300,000, from 240,000. It is a direct reflection of skyrocketing home values in the market. 

"These rising housing prices are going to push people out of our community. We cannot afford that in the city of Tampa," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. 

The city is also upping its forgivable loan assistance from $30,000 to $40,000. 

Workforce and affordable housing are major focus under the Castor administration as part of her Transforming Tampa's Tomorrow, or T3, vision. 

"Our community needs workforce and affordable housing," she said. 

For more information on the program, visit: https://www.tampa.gov/housing-and-community-development/programs/mortgage-assistance