An event regarding a program the city recently joined intended to help local home buyers, which had been scheduled for last month, has been rescheduled for this week.

The event was originally scheduled for Dec. 15, but on Dec. 14, city receptionist Maria E. Smyth said “due to COVID Mayor Scott Long is in quarantine for the next 10 days” and it had to be rescheduled.

But on Tuesday, Jan. 4, Smyth said Long invited all realtors and home lenders to a Hoosier Homes Program press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5 at Wabash City Hall Council Chambers.

“We will also have three representatives from Hoosier Homes to help answer questions,” said Smyth.

At 10:05 a.m. Long is scheduled to provide updates on the city’s participation in the program. At 10:20 a.m., Housing Resource Hub co-founder and chief operating officer Ryan Chasey is scheduled to provide an introduction and launch the local program. At 10:30 a.m., a closing and question and answer session is scheduled.

“Homeownership stabilizes families and communities. Best of all if you’re looking to buy a home in Wabash, homeownership is possible,” said Long.

Smyth said Long had recently authorized a new down payment initiative “to make the dream of homeownership a reality for those who want to make Wabash their home.”

Due to a resolution passed during an August 2021 Wabash City Council meeting, local home buyers will have the new financing tool at their disposal. The resolution enters the city into a cooperative agreement with the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) to participate in the Hoosier Homes Program.

The IHA sponsors and administers the Indiana Housing Initiative, also known as the Hoosier Homes Program, to “provide a homeownership program with competitive HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac eligible mortgage loans and down payment and closing cost assistance towards the purchase of existing and newly constructed homes.”

Long said this financing tool is used in around three dozen states throughout the country. The IHA is the state authority for this funding program.

Long said the program would not cost the city anything and that a per loan fee will be paid to the city in the amount of .0025 percent of the first mortgage amount of every loan originated through this program. The IHA will receive a fee of $150 for every loan purchased by the servicer.

Long said those eligible would have to make less than 140 percent of the area median income, which would equal out to $89,180.

City Attorney Doug Lehman said the IHA was “allowing us to piggyback on their program.”

Lehman said the IHA has made this offer available to other counties, including Allen County.

Long said if they were to do this independently they would have to establish a “Wabash Housing Agency.”

Long said the fees the city collects would be deposited into an account that would be used for future housing projects.

District 3 council member Terry Brewer said he was concerned about the program and wanted to make sure there was a way for the city to break the agreement in the future if they so chose. In response, Lehman said he didn’t think there was anything that would prevent them from getting out at any particular point in time.

The resolution then passed, with Brewer and at large council member Bryan Dillon voting against it.

For more information, visit www.cityofwabash.com.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.