Three years after the federal government allocated $1 million to start a homebuyers’ assistance program, the Inyo County Supervisors have decided not to continue the program.
Supervisors were asked to weigh a program that had many problems against the fact that since the county received the first round of grants three years ago, four $200,000 loans allowed four families to buy houses that they couldnt otherwise afford.
With days before the application deadline for a second round of federal money, the supervisors decided not to turn in the application that could have brought $800,000 to disburse in loans.
Supervisor Linda Arcularius had questions on the liability of the county if an assisted home buyer defaults on the loan. Without that answer, the county doesn’t know about their level of risk on the loans, she explained.
Another problem with the Home Loan Program was that people with a yearly income that qualified for the loans (roughly $50,000 for a family of four), couldn’t afford a home in Inyo County even with an extra $100,000 from the federal government. With the advice from realtors who were trying to make the program work, the supervisors upped the loan amount to $200,000.
Another problem was that the county has to front the money for the loans while a property is in escrow and then wait six to eight weeks for the state to pay a reimbursement. In cash strapped Inyo County, this means spending up to $200,000 of county money per loan until the state pays the county back.
In the end, the supervisors decided to call the homebuyers’ program quits.