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Homebuyer assistance program helps 12 families plant roots in Martis Valley

February 03, 2016

Twelve families have been able to maintain their roots in the Martis Valley region with the help of the Martis Fund Homebuyer Assistance Program. Launched less than a year ago by the Martis Fund and Placer County with initial funding of $500,000 to help working families find homes in the area, the success of the initial phase has prompted an extension of the program into 2016. 

“For many looking to purchase a home in our community, down payment can be a roadblock,” said Jen Spahr of Conway Lending Team, a local lender that provided loans for four of the 12 families participating in the program. “The Martis Fund’s Homebuyer Assistance Program helps bridge the gap and gives local professionals the opportunity to enter our real estate market and plant roots for years to come. The collaborative effort between our team and Placer County’s program administrator, Cathy Donovan, ensures a smooth transaction from application through day of closing. We wholeheartedly believe in this program that has helped many families be proud new homeowners in our community!” 

Loans are available for homebuyers working in Placer County east of the Donner Summit or in the Town of Truckee and seeking to buy homes in those areas. The buyer’s household income may not be more than 180 percent of the Placer County median income; this equates to roughly $137,000 for a family of four. Due to the demand for these loans, the Martis Fund recently provided an additional $200,000 for a second phase of the program. 

“The homebuyer program has been a remarkable success so far and the county welcomes the additional funding as more and more families apply for support,” said Placer County District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, who represents the region. “First responders, school teachers and young professionals face challenges in finding local housing for their families. This program is serving these working families, helping to strengthen our local communities, as well as avoid the environmental costs associated with lengthy commutes.”

Loans may be up to $50,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. To reduce the day-to-day costs of homeownership, all principal and interest payments on the down payment assistance loans are deferred until the time a home is sold, refinanced or no longer owner occupied.

The program is just the latest example of how the Martis Fund is making a difference in the Martis Valley region. Last year, the Martis Fund provided the first of two installments of support for the Family Resource Center of Truckee’s community housing programs directed at keeping low income families in their homes. “With the Martis Fund’s support we will continue to assist local families with their housing challenges through education and advocacy aimed at preventing eviction, encouraging energy-saving efficiencies and promoting economic stability,” said Teresa Crimmens, Family Resource Center of Truckee executive director.

A collaboration of the DMB/Highlands Group (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation and Sierra Watch, the Martis Fund was established in 2006 to conserve open space, manage and restore habitat and forest lands and promote opportunities for workforce housing in the Martis Valley region. Now entering its 10th year, the Martis Fund has made more than $6 million in grants to advance workforce housing, habitat and forest restoration and open space conservation.

Placer County is currently accepting applications for the homebuyer program. Loans will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. More information on the program as well as the county’s other housing assistance programs is available here.
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