Helping make home ownership more affordable was one goal of the NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program that assisted home buyers this past year in Cloud and Mitchell counties.
The program officially launched in April 2018. It assisted home buyers with down payment and closing cost assistance in the purchase of 26 homes — 16 in Mitchell County and 10 in Cloud County. The total value was $3.2 million, with $260,900 coming from the pilot program.
Primary objectives of the pilot program were to help make home ownership more affordable, be a catalyst for first time home buyers, benefit employers in recruiting and retaining employees, reduce employee time spent commuting to work, and market the program to alumni considering a move to live closer to friends and family.
An award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas, assisted in the creation of the loan and grant pool. NCRPC provided program administration led by Debra Peters, NCRPC Program Manager.
Of the home buyers who used the NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program, 39% bought their first home, 31% took a new job in the last year, and 25% moved from outside of the NCRPC 12-county service area. Nearly 60% of the home buyers reported graduating from a high school located in the NCRPC region. In addition, 25 children were either new to the local schools or will be entering school
within the next five years.
“One goal of the pilot project was to test whether the use of a housing incentive would be a catalyst for people to stake roots in our region and we were pleased with the results,” Peters said. “The two biggest impacts we saw were with employment and schools.”
The results of this project will be used to launch an updated version of the pilot program in Ellsworth and Lincoln counties, pending funding. Future plans include the development of a regional home ownership program.