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NJ Offering Interest-Free Loans To Those Buying Homes In Sandy-Ravaged Communities

$50,000 Loans Are Forgiven If Homebuyers Stay In Home For 5 Years

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NEPTUNE CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The state of New Jersey has launched a loan program designed to boost home ownership in the counties hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

As CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported, the state has designated $25 million of the federal funds allocated for Sandy relief to help those who need help affording a home.

The Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program is offering $50,000 forgivable loans to moderate- and low-income families looking to live in the nine counties hit hardest by Sandy.

Wisline Morency told Sloan she is hoping to move out of her rental in Neptune City and into her own home with her husband and two children.

“Nice house, nice porch, beautiful view,” Morency said.

The interest-free loans are available to those buying a home in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties.

“If they reside in that house consistently for the next five years, we will pro-rate the amount. And over five years, ultimately, that will be fully forgiven,” New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency executive director Anthony Marchetta told Sloan. “It allows a homebuyer that could afford a $150,000 home now able to purchase a $200,000 home,”

Morency moved to New Jersey from Haiti 11 years ago and said she is waiting to hear if her loan application will be accepted.

“It’s a big help,” Morency told Sloan. “It would be very nice, I would be very grateful.”

The loans, funding through federal Sandy aid, are available to those who were not impacted by Sandy. State officials said the goal with this particular loan is to keep people in hard-hit communities so they don’t become abandoned.

“There are lots of different programs available, and those that actually lost their homes have other programs available through it,” Marchetta said.

Applicants must have a credit score of 620 to qualify.

According to the state, the goal is to help 500,000 households. In 90 days, the program will be open to everyone, as long as they buy in Sandy-stricken neighborhoods.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie urged residents who’ve opted to stay in their homes in those nine counties to apply for $180 million in federal grant money.

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