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Support available for homebuyers

Purchasing a home may be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make, and navigating today’s housing market can seem impossible. Homeownership education is the single most effective tool for achieving successful homeownership. Informed homebuyers are successful homeowners.

The Housing Resource Connection is a one-stop-shop for information on purchasing a home or making your home or rental property a healthy, energy efficient and safe place to live. Assistance and programs on renovations, code requirements, weatherization, energy assessment, financial assistance, fuel assistance and healthy homes information are available. www.housingresourceconnection.org or call (218) 461-4397.

One Roof Community Housing (the result of merging Neighborhood Housing Services and Northern Communities Land Trust) offers home buying classes, in-person counseling and online courses. It also offers down payment and closing cost assistance for income eligible households purchasing within the Duluth city limits. There is also a tool-lending library and home repair classes. Go to www.1roofhousing.org or call (218) 727-5372.

Minnesota Homeownership Center has extensive home help services including first-time home buyer assistance, foreclosure process assistance and home mortgage assistance. Go to www.hocmn.org or call (651) 659-9336.

Community Action Duluth offers Common Cents, a 16-hour, free financial and homebuyer education class that results in a lender approved certificate. Classes offer food and provide child care if needed. Topics include getting a mortgage, avoiding predatory lending, asset building, improving a credit score and more. Go to www.communityactionduluth.org or call (218) 726-1665.

Lutheran Social Services offers financial counseling in foreclosure prevention, debt management, budget, debt management, bankruptcy and reverse mortgage. www.lssmn.org or call (800) 777-7419.

Recently the Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) of Duluth launched the new Build Up Duluth program, which offers financial incentives for new construction and multifamily homes in the Central and East Hillside neighborhoods.

There are no restrictions or income qualifications. However, buyers must qualify for a mortgage at a local bank or credit union for the cost of the home.

HRA will provide a buildable lot worth up to $25,000 and contribute $25,000 in cash toward construction in the form of an interest-free down payment loan. For every year lived in the home, the debt to HRA will be reduced by 10 percent. After 10 consecutive years of home occupancy, the entire amount of the loan will be forgiven. In many cases, the $50,000 can be counted as part of a down payment.

HRA will provide up to $10,000 per unit in cash toward the purchase and remodeling of older, multifamily housing. For every year the owner lives in one of the property’s units, the debt to HRA will be reduced by 10 percent. After 10 consecutive years of property occupancy, the entire amount of the loan will be forgiven.

For information go to buildupduluth.com or call (218) 529-6347.

HRA also has a homeowner and rental rehab program which provides the resources to make improvements through a variety of community-based programs. These include single family rehabilitation, rental rehabilitation, a homeownership program for low-to-moderate income families and lead abatement. Go to duluthhousing.com or call (218) 529-6327.

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