Mayor Landrieu Revives Soft-Second Mortgage Program

New Orleans, LA – More than $52 million dollars is now available to help low- and moderate-income residents to buy a home. They must qualify for a first mortgage, and not have owned a home for at least three years.
"It's going to serve families up to 120 percent of the area median income, which is about $73,000 for a family of four."
At least half of the money will target homeowners at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Those at or below 80 percent will also be eligible for up to $10,000 down payment and closing cost assistance.
Fred Johnson of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation says participants will have to show they can handle the commitment of home ownership.
"We're going to make certain that these buyers are well-trained, well-educated and that we're not going to force fit anyone into mortgages who don't belong in them. So it's not a giveaway program. It's not a welfare program. It's a self-help program."
Officials say the program will help families struggling to save money while paying rental rates that have increased since Hurricane Katrina. The city is taking over the program from the Finance Authority of New Orleans. Details of eligibility requirements and the process for approval are now posted on the city website.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.