New Orleans Looks To Attract And Retain Teachers Through Home Ownership Program

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New Orleans is stepping up its efforts to attract and retain teachers, and one possible strategy is to provide financial assistance to those individuals in the process of buying a house.

The solution proposed by the city is the implementation of a program known as the Teacher Homeownership Program. “Eligible teachers can receive up to $65,000 in down payment assistance and $5,000 in closing costs,” says Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The city has allotted a total of $1.5 million to the initiative, and it comes at a time when school systems are suffering a problem in hiring and keeping instructors. Teachers who teach grades K-12 as well as mental health professionals within the Orleans Parish school system are eligible to benefit from the program. However, they are required to be employed by the school system for a period of three years, and the home must continue to be used as a residence for a period of ten years.

“We are really committed to making sure that there are viable pathways for all New Orleanians to be economically secure, and housing is one of the key factors in economic security,” added Thelma French of nonprofit Total Community Action, a partner in the program.

Program Guidelines:

  • In order to qualify, applicants need to be working in the field of early childhood education, teaching grades K-12 in a public school, or working in the field of school mental health in New Orleans.
  • When applying for the loan, you will need to show that you have had at least three years of experience teaching or working in education.
  • Show that you have maintained your job in the educational field for at least three years.
  • If the applicant quits the teaching or education profession within three years of the date of application, the loan is subject to fines as well as additional claw-back procedures.
  • Attain the minimum required income level as specified by the program (listed below).
  • A City-approved lender will assess your eligibility for a forgiven second mortgage once you get your first mortgage.
  • Confirm that you will use the house (one that only has one family living in it) as your primary home for at least the next ten years.
  • It is required that the property be situated in Orleans Parish.
  • The chosen home is required to satisfy a base level of housing quality standards.
  • Keep up with your homeowner’s and flood insurance premiums at the levels mandated by your mortgage lender and the homebuyer assistance program.
  • It is not necessary for the buyer to be a first-time homeowner to qualify for this program.
  • The funds will be distributed among all five council districts in an equitable manner, but access to them will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Income Limits: Maximum Income is 80 percent of the Area Median Income: 

  • $39,300 (1- person household)  
  • $44,900 (2-person household) 
  • $50,500 (3-person household) 
  • $56,100 (4-person household)