Some District of Columbia families will find it easier to buy a house with the help of a newly funded housing program announced this week.

Officials of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that the District would receive a $993,000 grant for a "home purchase assistance project." The grant will go to the D.C. Development Corp., a private, nonprofit corporation that performs about the same function as the old model cities commissions. The corporation will make loans to low-income families for down payments.

HUD officials estimated that about 108 families and persons could receive second mortgage loans, averaging about $8,000 each, for down payments. In addition, the Saving Associations Financial Enterprises Inc. (SAFE), a service corporation set up by District savings and loans associations, has committed nearly $3 million in first mortgage money to assist in the project.

Strong private financial commitment was an important criterion in selecting which cities' applications would be funded by HUD, officials said.

Roy Priest, a D.C. housing official, said the down-payment loans to home buyers will be repaid only when the house is resold. If an owner has lived in the home for at least five years, no interest at all would be charged on the loan at time of resale.