Demystifying San Francisco’s Homebuyer Programs

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is pleased to announce a new component to its homebuyer education.
October 07, 2019
Photo of Homebuyer Orientation

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and its nonprofit partner Homeownership SF (HSF) aim to improve access and demystify the requirements of San Francisco’s first-time homebuyer programs. HSF now coordinates weekly Homebuyer Program Orientations in different neighborhoods and in different languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino) with HUD approved housing agencies, including:

  • ASIAN, Inc.
  • Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
  • San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC)
  • San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (SFLGBT Center)

Interested homebuyers are able to register for Homebuyer Program Orientations online via HSF’s website, or drop-in to take advantage of a select number of slots for same day attendees.  MOHCD’s first-time homebuyer education requirement includes attendance at the 2-hour MOHCD Homebuyer Program Orientation as the first step in qualifying for assistance.  Once the orientation is complete, applicants attend a 6-hour homebuyer education workshop, either online or in person, followed by a 2-hour one-on-one meeting with a HUD certified housing counselor.  The one-on-one counseling session is tailored and gives the applicant an opportunity to ask questions specific to their situation.

The entire homebuyer education requirement is a 10-hour time commitment after which participants are eligible to apply for homebuyer programs, including the purchase of a Below Market Rate (BMR) home or market rate home with City downpayment assistance.  271 hopeful homebuyers have attended orientations since they began in August 2019, and evaluations collected from participants show that attendees were very happy with the comprehensive information delivered in a simple way.

MOHCD and HSF want participants to leave the orientation with clarity about their eligibility and concrete next steps.  Some determine this program is a good fit for them now and proceed to the First-time Homebuyer Workshop, while others realize they may need to increase their savings or address their debt before moving forward.  Post-workshop evaluations indicate that the majority of attendees leave feeling excited and hopeful having learned there are homebuyer opportunities available for their household and income level. 

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