What is the Welcome Home Program?
The Welcome Home Program (WHP) offers grants to fund reasonable down payments and closing costs incurred in conjunction with the acquisition or construction of owner-occupied housing by low- and moderate-income homebuyers. The grants are limited to $5,000 per homebuyer and Members are subject to an aggregate limit of $200,000 per offering. All funds are reserved for specific homebuyers purchasing specific homes and cannot be transferred to other homebuyers or to other homes. Welcome Home funds will be available for reservation on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:00 AM ET on March 1, 2018, and will remain available until all funds have been reserved.
Who Can Use the WHP?
The FHLB has established a set-aside of Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds to help create homeownership. These funds are available to Members as grants to assist their mortgage loan applicants in the home buying process. This is our most widely used program, ideally suited to the needs of community lenders and their customers.
What are the Program Requirements?
Below is an abbreviated list of program eligibility requirements:
- The total income for all occupants must be at or below 80 percent of the Mortgage Revenue Bond (MRB) limit for the county and state where the property is located. The FHLB has an Income and Affordability Workbook to assist in determining household income eligibility.
- Homebuyers must contribute at least $500 of their own funds towards down payment and/or closing costs.
- WHP applicants do not have to be first-time homebuyers. However, all first-time homebuyers are required to complete a homeownership counseling program.
- WHP grant funds are intended only for homebuyers who qualify for the first mortgage based on their own merit. Co-signors and co-borrowers are not allowed unless they will occupy the home as their primary residence and their incomes are included in determining eligibility.
- WHP grant funds may be used in conjunction with other local, state and federal funding sources and with the FHLB Cincinnati’s Community Investment Cash Advance Programs.
- The Member who reserves the WHP funds must originate the first loan, but the loan may close in the name of a third party.
- The interest rate for the first mortgage may not exceed 7.50 percent.
- The interest rate for the second mortgage may not exceed 11.00 percent.
- Only second mortgages provided by formal organizations, community development financial institutions, housing finance agencies, non-profit organizations, etc. are acceptable.
All eligible property assisted with WHP funds is subject to a five-year retention mechanism (Retention Agreement), which may require the household to repay all, or a portion, of the subsidy, if the home is sold or refinanced within five years from the closing of the transaction.
How Do I Apply?
Reserving WHP Funds
Homebuyers must apply with one of our Member institutions. Click here to search our Member Directory.
Members may reserve funds via the Welcome Home Program link through the FHLB’s Members Only portal by submitting an online Reservation Request with supporting documentation. Instructions for accessing Members Only may be found here.
The FHLB will perform a preliminary review of the Reservation Request and the documentation submitted to determine eligibility of the homebuyer, availability of funds in the program, and availability of funds for the Member. If any of the information is incomplete, additional documentation or information may be required. Note: The Reservation Request will be denied upon receipt if a fully executed loan application is not included.
Written notification will be provided to the Member as to the homebuyer’s eligibility. Submission of a Reservation Request does not constitute an approval of funds. Funds are reserved only upon written notification of approval from the FHLB.
Please allow four weeks for the FHLB to review the Reservation Request and supporting documentation.
Disbursing WHP Funds
Welcome Home funds will only be disbursed after closing. The FHLB has some general guidance and specific instructions that Members and Closing Agents should use in closing mortgages using Welcome Home funds. Funds will be disbursed only to the extent they are required to fill the gap for down payment, closing costs, and counseling fees.
Members may submit a Request for Payment of Reserved Funding with supporting documentation via the Welcome Home Program link through the FHLB’s Members Only portal. Submission of a Request for Payment of Reserved Funding is not an approval of funds disbursement. Once the Request for Payment of Reserved Funding has been reviewed and approved, funds will be disbursed to the Member.
In the event the FHLB determines that funds were used for an ineligible expense, the grant will be reduced by the amount of the ineligible expense unless the household brings adequate funds to the closing to cover the amount of the ineligible expense. Under no circumstances will cash back to the homebuyer be permitted.
Please allow four to six weeks for the FHLB to review the Request for Payment of Reserved Funding and supporting documentation.
Additional Information and Technical Assistance
Documentation requested by the FHLB must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any documentation requiring an original signature must be mailed to:
Welcome Home Program
P.O. Box 598
Cincinnati, OH 45201-0598
For more information or assistance, please contact the Housing & Community Investment Department at (513) 852- 7680 or toll-free (888) 345-2246 or email us at email@example.com.
For assistance with Members Only, please contact the Service Desk at 800-781-3090.