- Florida’s Hometown Heroes Housing Program has provided over $100 million in assistance to nearly 7,000 veterans, active-duty service members, nurses, teachers, first responders, and law enforcement officers.
- The program offers down payment and closing cost assistance, as well as a lower interest rate for homebuyers.
- Due to its success, an additional $100 million has been allocated for the program, with increased maximum assistance and continued support for Florida families.
Florida has provided over $100 million in down payment and closing cost assistance for nearly 7,000 veterans, active-duty service members, nurses, teachers, first responders, and law enforcement officers as more Americans continue to relocate to the Sunshine State.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature created the Hometown Heroes Housing Program to help those who serve their country and their communities to be able to afford to live where they serve.
Since the program was first launched in June 2022, more than 6,753 veterans, active-duty military members, nurses, teachers, and law enforcement officers have received assistance through the program.
“Florida’s hometown heroes work hard to support our communities, and I am proud that we have supported over 6,700 of them as they purchased their family homes,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Through the Hometown Heroes housing program, we are ensuring that our police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, and military members and veterans can afford to buy homes in the communities that they have dedicated their lives to serving.”
The program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time, income-qualified homebuyers to purchase a primary residence in the community where they serve. It also includes a Hometown Heroes Loan Program that offers a lower first mortgage interest rate and additional benefits to those who’ve served and continue to serve.
“Florida Housing is proud to have assisted thousands of hometown heroes in achieving the American Dream of homeownership,” Executive Director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation Mike DiNapoli said. “By providing more hardworking Floridians with a place to call home, we are helping to facilitate healthier family environments, build stronger communities, and improve local economic impact.”
After the initial success of the program’s launch one year ago, the legislature this session allocated an additional $100 million. Starting July 1, the program will receive the $100 million for the 2023–2024 fiscal year to continue assisting Florida families. The legislature also increased the maximum down payment assistance amount to $35,000, or up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount.
Eligible homebuyers must connect with a Florida Housing Finance Corporation participating loan officer, have a minimum credit score of 640, be a first-time homebuyer, and earn less than 150% of the area median income, according to data from the county where they are purchasing a home.
The program is one of many created by DeSantis to assist those serving their communities. Last July, the state created and funded Florida’s Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program as part of the governor’s recruitment and support of law enforcement officers and first responders from other states.
Since then, over 2,000 men and women have joined Florida law enforcement agencies. The $20 million program, which has since been expanded, includes a one-time $5,000 signing bonus after taxes, a range of educational grants and resources, relocation assistance and other incentives.
Of the more than 2,000 new recruits, more than 590 are from another state. Nearly 50 of them chose to serve in Pinellas County near Tampa Bay, which has the greatest number of out-of-state recruits so far, Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
Over 200 have relocated from New York, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania.