NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined today by the Office of Youth and Families (OYF), Office of Housing Policy and Community Development (OCD), Tanya Bryant of ReNEW Schools, Alex Jarrell of New Schools New Orleans and Thelma French of Total Community Action to launch a $1.5 million down payment assistance program created for early childhood educators, K-12 teachers, and school behavioral health professionals within the Orleans Parish school system.
“Affordability has been front and center and a priority for my administration and the City of New Orleans,” said Mayor Cantrell. “We’ve run programs like this for homeownership across our city, but there’s a real need to focus specifically on our teachers to address the systemic issues we face around teacher retention and recruitment. teachers who come to our community and remain in the profession. Anything we can do to leverage our resources is something the City is willing to do, and it’s an example of that commitment.
The Teacher Home Ownership Program was developed by OYF and OCD and is funded through the use of Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Neighborhood Housing Improvement Dollars . The launch of the program is in response to the significant shortage of educators and to encourage the recruitment and retention of school professionals.
“The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families is thrilled to support the retention and recruitment of our teachers through this homeownership program,” said OYF Director Emily Wolff. “Educators who dedicate their time and energy to our most precious resource, our children, deserve access to resources that will help them stay in this city, maintain a quality of life and build generational wealth. We are actively reaching out to early childhood educators, paraprofessionals, K-12 teachers, and behavioral health workers to take advantage of this opportunity and would like the community’s help in spreading the word.
“The city of New Orleans has experienced a significant teacher shortage,” said Tyra Johnson Brown, Acting Director of OCD. “This program is another tool used to motivate educators by investing in education funding to increase teacher recruitment and retention. Although the program was originally developed prior to COVID-19 due to the significant shortage that Orleans Parish schools were facing, the ongoing pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges and increased shortages.
- Applicants must be currently employed as an early childhood instructor, K-12 teacher in a public school, or school behavioral health professional in New Orleans.
- Demonstrate a minimum of three years of teaching or education experience at the time of loan application
- Demonstrate continuous employment in education for at least 3 years
- The loan is subject to penalties and other clawback provisions if the applicant leaves the teaching/educational profession within 3 years of application
- Meet the income guidelines established for the program (listed below)
- Qualify for a first mortgage with a city-approved lender who will determine eligibility for the city’s repayable second mortgage
- Agree to occupy the property (a single-family home) as your primary residence for at least 10 years
- The property must be located in the parish of Orleans
- The selected house must meet minimum housing quality standards
- Maintain flood and home insurance in the amount required by mortgage lenders and the homeownership program
- Buyer does not need to be a first-time buyer
- Funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, but will be divided equally among the council’s five districts
- The maximum income is 80% of the region’s median income:
- $43,900 (one-person household)
- $50,200 (2-person household)
- $56,450 (3-person household)
- $62,700 (4-person household)
- $67,750 (household of 5 people)
- $72,750 (6 person household)
Down payment assistance will be provided in the form of an interest-free forgivable loan that will bridge the affordability gap between the price of the home, including closing costs, and the maximum amount the buyer can borrow with a first mortgage. Approved applicants will receive up to $65,000 for down payment assistance and up to $5,000 for closing costs. The exact amount of loan a homebuyer will qualify for will depend on household income, family size and needs. More information, including how to apply, can be found at nola.gov/community-development/ or by calling OCD at (504) 658-4200.
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