Home ownership is an American dream for most people, but for many owning a home is just that — a dream. The Humboldt County Commission, however, took steps to help Nevadans with that dream by approving a resolution June 3 to transfer the 2019 Private Activity Bond Volume Cap (PABC) funds to the Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA). The total amount consigned to NRHA was $475,845.90. The bond money will be used to fund its Home At Last Program.
The Home At Last program provides access to credit that allows low to moderate-income families to experience homeownership, often for the first time. The program includes down payment and closing cost assistance, Mortgage Credit Certificates (tax credit for loan interest), and the “HAL Pals” free pet adoption program for new homeowners.
Executive Director Bill Brewer and Katie Coleman, Director of Communication and Public Affairs for the NRHA have been traveling across the state to speak with rural local government officials about housing issues as well as pledging the bond cap funds.
PABCs are issued by the federal government to states based on population. Nevada allocations the funds among all the counties and local governments.
If local governments don't use it, it reverts to the state; if the state doesn't use it, it reverts to the federal government. Instead, Brewer told the commission that NRHA requests local governments to transfer funds, and then it pools the funds and uses it for its Mortgage and Certificate program. “That Mortgage and Certificate allows a home buyer who qualifies to get a direct tax credit based on their mortgage. The get a tax credit of around $1,000 which enables them to better able qualify for a mortgage or to buy a little bit more house each year,” he said. Home buyers get 10% back of their interest for the life of the loan. “It's not money,” Coleman said in an interview. “It's an opportunity for us to issue tax-free debt, and we use the funding as a way to fund the tax credits.”
NRHA lends in all 17 counties in Nevada and has issued 8,100 loans since 2006. The program is not only for first time home buyers. Previous homeowners can qualify if the property is the primary residence.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank, St. Louis, the rate for home ownership during the first quarter of 2019 stood at 64.2%. By contrast, home ownership in Nevada is at 58.5% and ranks 48th among states for home ownership. Humboldt County’s rate is 68.1% according to the NRHA’s Rural Nevada Housing Needs Assessment Annual Update.
Humboldt County population growth is projected to increase by 7.8% between 2016 and 2021, while Winnemucca’s population is expected to grow by 7.2% during the same time period.