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No community is complete without decent, affordable and fair housing.

Northampton County's DCED works with various agencies, programs, and governmental and private funders to help all of our residents improve their quality of life through housing.  While we do not directly provide assistance to individuals, we support a number of programs designed to help those who need help, from our veterans who may become homeless to our seniors who are struggling to maintain their homes. 

If you or someone you know needs help with housing issues, please see the tabs below.

If you are a provider or developer who wants to help create affordable housing solutions, please refer to the, "DCED Grant & Loan Programs," tab at the left side of this page for current and archived funding opportunities.


 Foreclosure

Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development sponsors the Community Action Financial Services' Foreclosure Mitigation program through Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV).  ​If you are facing foreclosure of your mortgage, please find more information at CACLV  or contact them at (610) 691-5620.

 My First Home

The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program is closed for 2019.  All funds have been exhaused.

 

The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program provides loans to eligible first-time buyers of Northampton County homes. These loans provide up to $5,000 to help with the cost of the house and closing costs.  We secure the investment in our communities by placing a lien on the property for 5 years or until the property is sold. For each year you stay in your home, 20% of the loan is forgiven. The loan is completely forgiven if the homebuyer stays in the house for at least 5 years.

Getting Started

- There must be an Agreement of Sale to apply.

- You must obtain your primary mortgage from one of the partner financial institutions listed below in order to receive this loan. These institutions are local, have experience with the program, and have a strong record of meeting federal requirements for investment in our communities (CRA). The lender will determine your eligibility and will calculate the amount of the subordinated mortgage required to enable you to purchase the house. The lender will submit a copy of its calculations and your application to us for review.

- You must complete a HUD certified/affiliated Homebuyer Education Counseling Program from an accredited agency before closing. Links to these programs are provided below.

- Your annual household income cannot exceed 80% of the median income for the Lehigh Valley as determined by HUD. The limits are as follows:

2019 Family Size Maximum Annual Income Limits (adjusted annually per HUD Income Guidelines)

# IN

HOUSEHOLD

MAXIMUM ANNUAL

INCOME

1$43,900
2$50,200
3$56,450
4$62,700
5$67,750
6$72,750
7$77,750
8$82,800

There is no limit on the price of the home you are purchasing, but the lender will determine if the primary mortgage and escrowed costs are within your ability to pay.

Homeowners should understand that they are purchasing a financial product when entering into a mortgage. Before taking this step, you are strongly encouraged to contact one of the Lehigh Valley's homeownership counseling agencies to ensure they understand the process and are purchasing the right product for your household.

 

Approved List of Homebuyer Education Agencies

Contact for information and upcoming classes:

Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley*   

1337 East 5th Street

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18017    

610-691-5620

* Available in Spanish

 

Neighborhood Housing Services of the Lehigh Valley

239 North 10th Street

Allentown, Pennsylvania 18102

610-437-4571

An updated listing of approved agencies throughout Pennsylvania is also available at the Department Of Housing and Urban Development 

 

Approved Lending Partners

American Bank:  610-973-8117

ESSA Bank & Trust:  570-421-0531

Lafayette Ambassador Bank:  610-332-7125

BB&T Bank:  610-807-5891

Merchants Bank:  484-548-6084

Quaint Oak Mortgage:  610-351-9970

Caliber Home Loans:  484-635-2100

Finance of America Mortgage:  610-691-6015

Mortgage America:  610-439-8000

America Financial Network Inc.:  954-280-0083

Summit Mortgage:  484-240-9542

Atlantic Home Loans:  610-762-1011

United Solutions Mortgage Group:  484-232-5921

Parkway Financial:  610-421-8450

Freedom Mortgage:  855-690-5900

 

What Happens if I Need to Sell or Refinance?  

If you live in your home for a period of five (5) years, the subordinated mortgage will be forgiven. The County will file a Satisfaction Piece and mail a copy to you for your records. 

If you need to sell the home within the first five (5) years, the balance of the loan is due and payable in full at settlement (with 20% forgiven for each year of ownership).

If the homeowner refinances the original mortgage, the Northampton County mortgage may be subordinated to the new first mortgage. The Guidelines for this process are below.

Subordination Guidelines

Because this program is meant to help households with limited incomes achieve stable homeownership, the County must ensure that any subordination of its position will have a long-term benefit to the Borrower.  Northampton County will subordinate its mortgages to a new primary lender under the following circumstances:

1.   The borrower continues to own and occupy the premises as the borrower's primary residence; and
2.   The borrower will benefit by securing an interest rate at least 1% less than the existing rate on his or her first mortgage; and
3.   The new first mortgage is a conventional fixed rate mortgage with no balloon payments and no pre-payment penalty; and
4.   The borrower does not receive any cash out for any purpose, including but not limited to, home improvement loans, bill consolidation loans, lines of credit, future advances, personal loans, medical collections, other mortgages or encumbrances or liens; and
5. Borrower is current with payment of property taxes.

Submission Requirements

The Northampton County DCED must receive the following to consider a request for subordination:

1. Written request from the borrower explaining the purpose for the request. The borrower's name, address and telephone number; lender's name, address, telephone and fax numbers; and the Closing Agent/Title Company contact person, address and telephone number. 

2. Copy of Northampton County's existing recorded second mortgage.

3. Details of the loan being requested, including the Truth in Lending statement, first three (3) pages of the appraisal, the proposed mortgage documents and a copy of the Good Faith Estimate or Settlement Statement.

Approval Process

  • Within seven (7) business days, lender will receive an approval/denial letter or request for additional information from Northampton County DCED.
  • If the request for subordination is approved, Northampton County will complete and execute a Subordination Agreement. The County must review a copy of the HUD-l Closing Statement prior to release of the County's executed Subordination Agreement. 
  • If a title company supplies the title company's FedEx (or any overnight carrier) account number, the County will overnight the executed Subordination Agreement. 
  • Please allow up to five (5) business days for preparation of the Subordination Agreement. 
  • Lender/title company is responsible for recording the original Sub-ordination Agreement and forwarding recorded original to the Northampton County DCED.


Additional Programs

In addition to our program, there are other programs available through the state and federal government to help homebuyers. Ask one of the participating lenders for information. You can also see what programs are currently offered at:

Federal Home Loan Bank

PA Housing Finance Agency

Additional Questions?

Sarah Ortiz- Northampton County DCED - 610-829-6308 or sortiz@northamptoncounty.org

 Lenders

Open RFP (Request for Proposals) 

First Time Home Buyer Program Lending Partners

Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development (NCDCED) is seeking partner lending institutions for the First Time Home Buyer Program.

NCDCED requests written proposals from qualified home mortgage lending institutions who are interested in participating in this program.  Any institution submitting a proposal must be prepared to work with NCDCED for the benefit of income-eligible residents seeking to purchase a home for the first time within Northampton County.

OVERVIEW

The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program provides loans to eligible first-time buyers of Northampton County homes. These loans provide up to $5,000 to help with the cost of the house and closing costs.  While the County provides these funds as a forgivable loan, all financing and processing will be performed by the partner lending institution.  Loans are funded by a fee assessed on all deed and mortgage transactions occurring within Northampton County. 

We secure the investment in our communities by placing a lien on the property for 5 years or until the property is sold. For each year the homebuyer retains ownership of the property, 20% of the loan is forgiven. The loan is completely forgiven if the homebuyer remains in the home for at least 5 years.

The approval for this loan is contingent upon the combined household income of the buyer equalling 80% or less of the Area Median Income (as published annually by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development).  Buyers must have evidence of the ability to contribute 1.5% of the total purchase and must complete a Pre-Purchase Homeowners' Counseling course, as offered by a HUD-certified counseling agency.  Underwriting of these criteria is completed by the primary lender as part of its approval process. 

The Northampton County First-Time Homebuyer Program has several important goals: 

  • To provide the opportunity for stability that home ownership affords;
  • To increase vitality in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods by increasing home ownership in these communities; and
  • To afford county residents the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of fair housing choice.

To this end, the County's mortgage may only subordinate to conventional, fixed-rate mortgages.  This product is recognized by PHFA and can be used in conjunction with other incentives for low-moderate income homebuyers, such as HOOP and First Front Door.

SCOPE OF SERVICES

NCDCED's goal is to provide first mortgage assistance to eligible first-time home buyers in Northampton County.  Selected partner lending institutions will need to have the capacity to assist eligible applicants in fulfilling the requirements for participation in the program, providing or assisting the applicant in finding a resource for Homebuyer Education Counseling through a HUD certified/affiliated accredited agency or program, and securing financing for a home purchase. 

The services that need to be provided require lending partners that are capable of the above tasks, and of performing those functions for a diverse and widespread population.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

NCDCED has performed extensive qualifying research prior to selecting institutions to invite to respond to this RFP, including examining CRA evaluations, HMDA reporting data, FHA compare ratio data, and other items.  Lending institutions will be further evaluated on the basis of their written responses to this RFP, additional information as requested, and oral interviews, if any, including, but not limited to the following criteria:

  • Relevant experience of the institution
  • Organization and approach
  • Services for non-English-speaking applicants
  • Availability of, or participation in, a HUD approved Homebuyer Education Counseling program for applicants
  • Application fees
  • Record of investments and community involvement in Northampton County

 

REQUESTED INFORMATION
 All lending institutions must address the following issues and questions:

  1. Provide a brief description of your organization and its mortgage lending program.  Indicate the total number of staff in all Lehigh Valley branches available to assist program applicants, and the availability of foreign language assistance.
  2. Provide a summary of any programs available through your institution that are targeted to low and moderate income applicants and/or first-time homebuyers.
  3. Describe in detail any First-Time Home Buyer Education Counseling programs that your institution provides to its clientele, or any association or affiliation with any outside HUD accredited counseling agency
  4. Provide a description of all fees assessed on mortgage applicants and a total amount charged for the origination of a home mortgage loan, including any points that may be required to secure home financing.
  5. Describe your institutions current and recent community development involvement and investments in Northampton County.
  6. Provide, on disk, a .jpeg or .gif file of the corporate logo to be used in any county promotional materials, if selected.

 

SUBMISSION OF RESPONSES
Your firm, in the preparation and submission of a proposal, must observe the following requirements:

  1. All inquiries and proposals should be directed to:
    Sarah Ortiz
    Financial Specialist
    Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development
    2801 Emrick Blvd., 1st Floor
    Bethlehem, PA 18020

    Telephone:      (610) 610-829-6308
    Fax:                 (610) 559-3775
    E-mail:             sortiz@northamptoncounty.org
  2. Responses must include a cover letter signed by an individual authorized to enter into participation with NCDCED on behalf of the institution, and must identify the individual (along with his or her telephone number and e-mail address) who is available to answer questions about the proposal and who will be responsible for coordinating the work involved.  Please also include the name and contact information of the person to be listed as the contact for applicants, including those to be listed as contacts for applicants speaking languages other than English.
  3.  Any selected partner institutions will be provided all necessary loan documents and will be included in all County promotional materials.

 

NCDCED reserves the right to:

  • Reject any and all proposals received in response to this request;
  • Select partners in any way it deems necessary to best serve the interests of NCDCED and Northampton County;
  • Request additional information as determined necessary; and/or
  • Discontinue or not go forward with the proposed assignment
     

 Housing Discrimination

​Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development sponsors the Fair Housing Project through North Penn Legal Services.  ​If you believe that you have been the victim of housing discrimination, please contact North Penn Legal Services at (610) 317-8757.

 Equal Opportunity Housing

​​Northampton County supports Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing and does not discriminate in any of its grant programs on the basis of race, color, creed, ethnicity, sex, familial status, age, religion, or disability. No displacement may occur as a result of activities funded with CDBG.

 Homelessness Resources

​Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development administers resources for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown..  If your family is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please call (610) 435-1541.  Emergency Shelter Services information and referrals for shelter can be found by calling 211.

 Home Repair

​Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development sponsors the homeowner-occupied housing rehabilitation program administered by the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust.  ​If your home is in need of rehabilitation, please find more information at Home Rehab Assist or call (610) 691-5620.

 Rental Assistance

​Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development administers resources for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown..  If your family is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please call (610) 435-1541.

 Utility Bill Assistance

​Northampton County Department of Community & Economic Development administers resources for assistance with utility bills through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown.  If your family is in need of assistance with past due utility bills, please call (610) 435-1541.

Further information on programs designed to provide assistance with utility bills can be found Utility Bill Assistance

 

 Redeveloping Neighborhoods

 Multi-Municipal Efforts

 Planning Resources

 Meeting Residents' Needs

 Vibrant Communities

 Historic Treasures

 Outdoor Recreation

 Arts & Culture

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