Special Home Loans for Low-Income Earners in the Northeast

There are a variety of options and resources available for low-income earners or those struggling to secure a home and home loan. One of those programs is down payment assistance which varies from state to state in available offerings. Down Payment Assistance or DPA helps homebuyers secure grants or low-interest loans that reduce the amount needed to save for a down payment.

Below you will find a breakdown of the different options available:

D.C. Program(s)

D.C.’s Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) helps low- or moderate-income borrowers. Qualified low-income applicants get an interest-free loan of up to $4,000. There is no need to make payments on that amount. The loan is due when the home is resold or refinanced and is typically only repaid then. There is also a $4,000 interest-free loan option for qualified moderate-income buyers, but that has to be repaid beginning five years. Learn more here.

Maryland Program(s)

There are three options provided by The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (MDHCD’s) Down Payment Assistance and Partner Match Programs. The first option is zero-percent interest loans which become payable once the home is sold or refinanced so there are no monthly payments. The second option is forgivable loans which are forgiven a portion at a time over several years. You do not pay unless oy move or refinance before the time it takes to fully forgive the loan. The last option is cash grants which do not have to be repaid and are provided by MDHCD’s partners. Learn more here

Virginia Program(s)

The Virginia Housing Development Authority offers a program for first-time buyers which is a non-repayable grant of up to 2.5 percent of the home’s purchase price. The only caveat for this program is that to qualify you need a minimum credit score of between 620 and 660 depending on the type of mortgage you choose. 

To qualify, you’ll need a minimum credit score of between 620 and 660, depending on the type of mortgage you choose. Also, your household income and the purchase price of your home must be below specified limits. Learn more here

New York Program(s)

New York offers programs based on local and regional options instead of a statewide down payment assistant program. One option is a State of New York Mortgage agency loan (known as SONYMA). One loan option through this program is a loan of up to $15,000 to first-time buyers who are recent college graduates and who are purchasing in certain communities in updated New York. 

Another program is the HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance program (HPD) which assists eligible first-time buyers. 

New Jersey Program(s)

New Jersey offers a program for first-time homebuyers to get up to 10,000 towards their home purchase. This sum is interest-free and forgivable and intended to be used to help cover down payment and/or closing costs. Learn more here

Habitat for Humanity Programs

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that builds homes across the United States and other parts of the world. Volunteers for the organization build the home with the majority of the supplies being donated to the houses that are built at a low cost. 

Though this organization is a non-profit they do not give away homes for free. Recipients of homes are required to work on their homes and also have a down payment and monthly mortgage requirements. 

These homes are simple but built to be decent and affordable. They are large enough to meet the needs of a family and are modestly sized. The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to offer the houses through no-profit loans instead of the typical for-profit lending process. The mortgage payments made by families go on to help fund the building of more homes. 

To apply to buy a Habitat for Humanity home you need to begin the application process through https://www.habitat.org. During the application process, you must prove that you are in need, that you will work on the home, and that you have the means to repay the mortgage loan. 

Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program, or SHOP

Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) allows low-income earners who are at risk of becoming homeless to help build and care for affordable housing units that they otherwise would not be able to afford. SHOP does this by awarding grant funds to eligible national and regional non-profit organizations and consortia to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to ser the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. Click here to learn more. 

Choice Neighborhoods

The Choice Neighborhoods program leverages public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services, and schools.

The Homeownership Zones Program and Choice Neighborhoods are both programs that allow those in danger of experiencing homelessness to rebuild and revitalize their communities. As properties in economically depressed areas are built or improved upon, educational and job opportunities naturally improve. These programs help entire communities and poverty-stricken areas while allowing those who earn low incomes to achieve homeownership. Click here to learn more. 


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps people to find affordable housing. HUD offers several programs for people to become homeowners. HUD also offers programs for those who need rental assistance. These programs help people who are not ready for homeownership to find affordable housing through subsidized or low-cost rental options.


If you are currently renting your home through public housing, HUD may make it possible for you to own your current apartment or house. To start it is recommended to contact your local public housing agency on whether that is a feasible option. You also may qualify for HUD-sponsored vouchers to buy a home other than the one in which you live currently, particularly if you live in Section 8, or public, housing. To learn more about these vouchers please click here

Another option available through HUD is the ability to buy foreclosed or abandoned homes at very low prices to those that qualify. 


Second chance homes fall under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Second Chance Homes are adult-supervised, supportive group homes or apartment clusters for teen mothers and their children who cannot live at home because of abuse, neglect, or other extenuating circumstances. These homes can also offer support to help young families become self-sufficient and reduce the risk of repeat pregnancies. They typically offer education, job training, and employment services as well as a requirement to finish high school or obtain a GED.


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