Bay County launches program to help affordable housing issues
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Across the county, people are facing a similar issue; there seems to be no affordable housing anywhere.
“We’re seeing a fairly large rise in housing prices and even rental apartment prices due to COVID,” Tammy Harris, Bay County Housing Program Manager, said.
According to Harris, during the pandemic many landlords did not receive rent payments for more than a year.
This caused many to increase their rates to recover from the loss.
“They were one of the few business people that wasn’t rescued. Weren’t part of the rescue COVID package right away,” Harris said.
Realtor John Claunch with Beachy Beach Real Estate said there are several factors playing into the available housing issue.
“All the growth we have here in jobs and you have people that are coming here to help restart our area. We lost 25% of our workforce here. I think that coupled with what’s happening with the pandemic is putting a national spotlight on Northwest Florida. For people wanting to move to this area, specifically Panama City Beach and Bay County,” Claunch said.
However, Bay County has established a program to help.
“It’s a purchase assistance program, currently we’re offering $50,000 down payment assistance to anyone that qualifies at 140% AMI or lower,” Harris said.
Harris said to put in perspective, a family of four can not make more than $94,000 to qualify for the purchase assistance program.
Harris adds that her team has yet to turn anybody away yet. Everyone that has applied has been approved.
“Some apartment complexes that are going up can be subsidized or income-based,” Harris said.
The county has recently partnered with ReHouseBay and will be launching new owner-centric programs in the near future.
These programs include an owner-occupied rehab program, emergency rehab program, rental assistance, foreclosure assistance for homeowners behind in payments. Will also assist with impact fees for existing homes.
The county will also be hosting a first-time home buyer’s class on January 19th. This class is a mandatory requirement if you are considering applying for one of the housing programs, Specifically the purchasing assistance program.
For more information on joining one of the programs, visit this website or call Tammy Harris at 850-215-2479.
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