Cuyahoga Land Bank Launches “HomeFront – Cuyahoga County”
Mr. and Mrs. MacMillan receive keys to their new home.
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The Cuyahoga Land Bank, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, and Cuyahoga County Council announced the “HomeFront Veterans Home Ownership Program” (HomeFront) today at a press conference in University Heights at the new home of Michael MacMillan Jr., his wife, Elizabeth, and their soon-to-be born first child. A five year veteran of the United States Air Force, MacMillan is the first veteran to participate in HomeFront.
“This is a chance for veterans to own a home on very flexible terms. And, from day one, the object of the program is to establish immediate equity for our veterans,” said Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos.
HomeFront – Cuyahoga County is a pilot program of the Cuyahoga Land Bank that offers assistance to eligible veterans interested in purchasing either a renovated move-in ready home or a home that will be renovated with the assistance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
Veterans interested in purchasing a home for renovation or a renovated move-in ready home may be eligible for a discount of up to twenty percent of the purchase price. The Cuyahoga Land Bank also covers closing costs.
All homes meet the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Housing Quality Standards and all applicable point-of-sale requirements.
Veterans who may not yet be bankable but have had steady employment for at least one year may qualify as lease-to-own buyers. The Cuyahoga Land Bank will work with these veterans to promote home ownership through lease-to-own options.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has made veterans’ services a priority. “We can't match our veterans' sacrifice and dedication, but we hope to provide a little comfort to those returning veterans and their families by making it just a little easier to come home,” said FitzGerald. “The HomeFront Program will help our veterans become our neighbors.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank received a $100,000 grant from Cuyahoga County Council’s Veterans Services Fund, which, combined with an additional $100,000 from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, will be used as a revolving loan fund. Because of this structure, HomeFront – Cuyahoga County is a self-sustaining program that allows the Cuyahoga Land Bank to help veterans achieve the dream of homeownership on an ongoing basis.
“Addressing the needs of our veterans is one of my highest priorities as a County Council Member. They serve our nation and often make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. I am pleased to be a partner with the Land Bank and the Administration in establishing this program,” said Councilman Pernel Jones Jr., who is also a board member of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
County Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who initially proposed a collaboration with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, also lauded the program. “I am excited that we have a program in place to provide home ownership opportunities for veterans.”
County Councilman Dave Greenspan praised the Land Bank’s program: “The Veteran’s Services Fund was established for precisely the kind of veteran’s assistance the Land Bank is offering. Council is proud to have funded this program.”
In order to renovate a home through the HomeFront Veterans Program, the veteran must:
- intend to live in the property as their primary residence for at least two years;
- agree, at minimum, to renovate the property according to the specifications provided by the Cuyahoga Land Bank and satisfy all municipal Point of Sale requirements, if the property requires renovation;
- provide satisfactory documentation to the Cuyahoga Land Bank that shows they have the ability to finance, at minimum, the cost of acquiring and renovating the property or have the ability to obtain financing within three years;
- agree to follow all the rules and policies as promulgated by the Cuyahoga Land Bank;
- sign a Cuyahoga Land Bank purchase/renovation/lease-to-own contract;
- have a minimum credit score as determined by the Cuyahoga Land Bank;
- have been employed for at least one year;
All properties in the Cuyahoga Land Bank inventory are available to veterans via HomeFront – Cuyahoga County.
The program will be funded in part by a $100,000 award allocated to the Cuyahoga Land Bank by Cuyahoga County.
Katherine Bulava is President of Hatha Communications.