The VA loan program, which helps military veterans buy a home without a down payment, has been around for decades. Home-buyer incentive programs are also available around the country from states, cities and municipalities for other service employees, including educators, first responders, health-care workers and law enforcement professionals.
Nearly 7 percent of all home-buyer programs are available to help people in those categories with down-payment assistance, closing-cost help, low down-payment loans or flexible eligibility requirements, according to Down Payment Resource.
Home-buyer programs are available for a wide variety of groups, including first-time buyers, borrowers who meet income requirements and buyers moving into neighborhoods where municipalities want to increase the number of homeowners. In some cases, those programs have additional incentives for community workers. In other places, a separate program has been designed to meet the needs of these essential professionals.
For example, in Washington, the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development’s Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP), provides first responders with a grant of up to $10,000 plus a matching fund grant of up to $15,000 for down-payment and closing-cost assistance.
While the programs vary, typically both the home buyer and the property they want to purchase need to meet specific qualifications. Many programs are structured to encourage municipal employees to live close to where they work. Some municipalities focus on increasing homeownership in areas in need of revitalization.