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Housing Assistance for County Employees

Frequently Asked Questions About The Housing Assistance Fund for County Employees

Where do housing assistance funds come from?

Who is eligible for these loans?

Can I pay into the fund if I am not currently a member?

What do I do if I want to pay off my loan off early?

What happens if I leave County employment?

Will my boss or co-workers know that I applied for this loan?

Rental/Mortgage Assistance Program (RMAP)

What is the status of this program?

First Time Homebuyer Program (FTHB)

What can a FTHB loan pay for?

Are there any other qualifying criteria?

What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

What is the interest rate for this loan?

Are there any fees for this loan?

Do all primary lenders work with the County?

How long do I have to pay off the loan?

Can I refinance the primary loan and leave the existing loan with the County?

What if I have already used this program?

How long does the process take to get the check to the title company?

Does my credit need to be perfect to qualify for the FTHB?

How does the funding work for the FTHB Program?

Is the FTHB Program compatible with FHA?

Housing Assistance Rehabilitation Loan Program

What is the status of this program?

Answers

Where do housing assistance funds come from?
In 1992 the Board of Supervisors signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SEIU Local 1021, directing the Auditor to deduct a penny per hour from each employee represented by SEIU Local 1021. Effective July 2016 the employee contribution was increased to two pennies ($.02) per hour. The County matches these payroll deductions and funds are to be used to help employees with housing needs.

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Who is eligible for these loans?
If you are a County employee whose job is represented by SEIU Local 1021, and if you have contributed to the Housing Assistance Fund for the minimum time required for each loan type, you may apply for a loan.  See individual loan program criteria for tenor.

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Can I pay into the fund if I am not currently a member?
No.  The loan programs are only for SEIU 1021 represented members currently employed by the County.

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What do I do if I want to pay off my loan early?
Contact the Revenue & Debt (Central Collections) department for current balance information and pay directly to them with cash, a cashier check, or money order only.

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What happens if I leave County employment?
The maximum amount allowed by law will be deducted from your last paycheck.  The balance of the loan if any, is then payable in monthly installments.  The payment is due on the first of each month and must be sent directly to Revenue & Debt (Central Collections) until the loan is paid in full.

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Will my boss or co-workers know that I applied for this loan?
Your application and loan papers are kept strictly confidential.  Employees who are directly responsible for administering the program at the Community Development Commission, the Auditor, and Revenue & Debt (Central Collections) are the only people who will know whether you have applied for or received assistance.

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Rental/Mortgage Assistance Program (RMAP)

This program has been reinstated effective January 25, 2018.

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First Time Homebuyer Program (FTHB)

What can a FTHB loan pay for?
The FTHB loan can cover a portion of your acquisition costs.

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Are there any other qualifying criteria?
You must have 5% of the sales price of your own funds for down payment and/or closing costs, cannot have owned a principal residence (including a mobile home) within the past three years, or currently own any real property. The property must be in Sonoma County and the primary loan amount cannot exceed the single-family loan limit set by FNMA. Please contact the Community Development Commission to obtain the current maximum loan amount.

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What is the maximum amount I can borrow?
The maximum loan amount is $50,000.

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What is the interest rate for this loan?
The interest rate is 3% and fully amortized through the loan term.

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Are there any fees for this loan?
There is a non-refundable $25 processing fee. The Community Development Commission uses the information from the primary lender, such as the credit report, income verification and appraisal, so there is no duplication of loan costs.

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Do all primary lenders work with the County?
The loan parameters follow Fannie Mae guidelines for second liens and, as most lenders sell their loans on the secondary market using these guidelines, there is not usually a problem.

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How long do I have to pay off the loan?
The loan is a 30-year, fully amortized loan. Payments are deducted from the first and second paycheck of each month until the loan is repaid in full or until the home is sold, no longer owner-occupied or when the home is refinanced.

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Can I refinance the primary loan and leave the existing loan with the County?
If the total loan payment is lowered, the new first mortgage term is not reduced, and there is no cash out, then it may be possible to keep the existing loan.

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What if I have already used this program?
The loan is for first time homebuyers only, all applicants must be eligible first time homebuyers.

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How long does the process take to get program funds to the title company?
Please allow ten to fifteen working days for the Community Development Commission to process loan from date of receipt of primary lenders loan package.

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Does my credit need to be perfect to qualify for the FTHB?
We use underwriting criteria consistent with lending industry standards that allow for some derogatory credit items with reasonable explanation of extenuating circumstances.

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How does the funding work for the FTHB Program?
Your primary lender will send copies of their loan package to the Commission to determine eligibility from those documents and the short loan application you submitted to the Commission. If approved, the Commission will send loan documents to the title company, which you will sign at the same time you sign your primary loan documents. All funds will be sent to the title company.

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Is the FTHB Program compatible with FHA?
Yes, as well as with the Veterans Administration and most conventional lenders.

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Housing Assistance Rehabilitation Loan Program

This program has been reinstated effective February 1, 2016.


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