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NeighborhoodLIFT gives $20k downpayment grant to couple to purchase home

Jimmy Seus and Maggie Nieves of Soundview got $20,000 towards a house purchase downpayment through NeighborhoodLIFT.
Bronx Times
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Two lucky borough residents are getting help to buy a new home.

Maggie Nieves and Jimmy Seus were mortgage applicants who received a $20,000 grant towards a down payment for their first home of their own, which they are purchasing in Clason Point.

The Soundview couple were beneficiaries of a program called NeighborhoodLIFT, which set aside $8.3 million for hundreds of perspective homebuyers who attended a Brooklyn event on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4. Attendees applied for the grants.

NeighborhoodLIFT held this most recent round of grant-making through a partnership between Wells Fargo & Company, one of the nation’s largest banks; NeighborWorks America, an organization which places people in affordable homes and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York, a local affiliate of NeighborhoodWorks.

The event provided grants to some Bronxites who qualified, and it marks the first time grants were made to prospective borough homeowners since 2013.

Grants were also provided to Brooklyn and Queens home buyers.

For Nieves and Seus, who said they plan on purchasing a condominium in Shorehaven in Clason Point, the money was something that allowed them to accomplish their goal of homeownership.

Nieves indicated that at times she thought homeownership may have been out of reach given her life circumstances.

“I was looking at it and I thought I had no options,” she said of the period before she decided to purchase a home and was connected with NeighborhoodLIFT.

Nieves said that the apartment that she has lived in for three decades on Wheeler Avenue was in a building that was sold.

The new owner raised her rent dramatically, and she decided to move.

“After going to open houses and looking at rentals, I found it virtually impossible…I could take that money and have a home of my own,” said Nieves.

According to Nieves, purchasing a home that could run up to $500,000 was a tough call.

She credited housing representatives at her union, District Council 37, and a loan officer the couple was working who connected them with NeighborhoodLIFT, with providing support through a lengthy process.

Seus said that the $20,000 was icing on the cake and that without it, the couple would still be looking for ways to amass the downpayment.

On Friday, November 3, the day that the grant was approved, Sues said that he was “overwhelmed.”

As of press time, data was not available for how many homebuyers specifically from the borough were helped, but the last time grants were given, in 2013 as part of a related program called CityLIFT, 37% of approximately 350 clients were purchasing homes in the Bronx, according to a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who commented on the program, said that his office is helping constituents find appropriate housing, and this includes home ownership opportunities.

He said NeighborhoodLIFT has already proven successful.

“I want to thank Wells Fargo for bringing the NeighborhoodLIFT program back to our borough, and I appreciate the company’s financial commitment to helping families buy their own home,” said Diaz.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Updated 12:56 pm, November 16, 2017
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