For two days, hundreds of potential homebuyers attended Wells Fargo’s CityLIFTSM event at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino in hopes of receiving $15,000 in down payment assistance. The CityLIFT program is a collaboration between
Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America’s local affiliate Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire. Potential homebuyers who were looking to purchase a home in one of the five qualifying Inland Empire cities of San Bernardino, Riverside, Fontana, Moreno Valley and Corona met with representatives from Wells Fargo and NHSIE to see if they qualified for a down payment grant. One of the lucky grant recipients was San Bernardino resident Charles Thomas. City of San Bernardino employee and Army veteran Charles Thomas and his wife Tye had thought about buying a home for years. With five young children under 9 years old, owning a home in the city where he works was a dream for Thomas. But every time they applied for a mortgage the answer was no, being turned down as recently as May of this year. Thomas became optimistic after hearing about the CityLIFT program on a local radio station and the potential of receiving $15,000 towards a down payment. Not quite sure where to start, Thomas stopped by the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage branch across the street from his work to see what steps he needed to take to qualify. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Consultant Tandi Smith sat down with Thomas and looking through possible options, included FHA and VA programs, and was able to get him pre-approved for a $150,000 home loan. With approval in hand, Thomas attended the CityLIFT event in San Bernardino on Friday August 9th and after an hour or so, received the news that he would be receiving a $15,000 grant towards the purchase of a new home. “We are so excited! To be able to own a home where we can watch our kids grow up and be part of a neighborhood is a great feeling,” said Charles Thomas, City of San Bernardino Flex Operator and CityLIFT grant recipient. “It’s been a little crowded living with family for the past few years, but now that we have this grant and approval we can’t wait to start looking at houses and find one to call home. This $15,000 is going to allow us to not only buy a house but get a jump start on saving for our future and our kids’ education.” Smith was onsite at the San Bernardino National Orange Show on the first day of the CityLIFT event to walk Thomas through the process and give him the good news that he was one of the many grant recipients who were awarded the 100% of the $4.8 million dollars in down payment assistance. “With the Inland Empire being one of the areas most deeply affected by the country’s housing crisis, one of the most important things that will come from the $4.8 million in down payment grants awarded, will be the hundreds of new homeowners planting roots in this community,” said Celia Lanning, Wells Fargo’s Inland Empire regional president. “The CityLIFT program was created to help families who have been unable to purchase a home because they struggle with making the down payment or have to compete with investors. We hope to help address this issue by providing down payment assistance grants and homebuyer education to help local residents realize their dream of owning a home.” In addition to an appointment to meet with a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultants and nonprofit counselors, customers were able to take advantage of on-site homebuyer education and learn more about potential properties to purchase at the virtual affordable home tour. Customers who received a reservation still need to purchase and close on a property to receive the grant. To support sustainable homeownership and advance neighborhood stability, the CityLIFTSM program looks to the future by delivering down payment assistance and financial education to homebuyers. To learn more about the program and see if you qualify, contact a local participating Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant or Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire at http://nhsie.org.