A form is now available on Westchester County's Web site for potential homeowners who want to be kept informed as fair and affordable housing opportunities become available as part of a lawsuit settlement with the federal government.
The form is available at www.westchestergov.com/homeseeker
An explanation of the process is posted in Spanish as well; the Spanish version of the form itself will be available in the near future.
Those who sign-up and provide their contact and other information will be notified of upcoming fair and affordable homeownership opportunities that are part of the housing settlement as well as those that become available through other housing initiatives. Interested homebuyers will also have access to information that will help them prepare for homeownership by participating in homebuyer education and counseling courses, saving for a down payment and working to be sure their credit history is clean.
"The idea is to make information about fair and affordable housing opportunities as transparent and accessible as possible," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino.
The housing settlement was entered into last year by former County Executive Andrew J. Spano with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also approved by the Board of Legislators, it requires the county to ensure the development of 750 units of housing in 31 communities and to undertake marketing that ensures outreach to racially and ethnically diverse households.
To complete the form, potential homeowners will be asked for information that will help the county determine the breadth of interest in fair and affordable ownership, by people both in and outside the county, and the need for access to public transportation.
As housing units become available, the potential homeowners who sign-up will be directed to specific resources to complete applications for units in developments that they might be interested in.
Homeowners will be chosen through a lottery. Each housing development will have its own application process that will be described in the materials sent to the interested homebuyers. Nothing will obligate the interested buyer to submit an application or to agree to purchase a unit should they be found to be eligible for a home.
People who need assistance completing the forms can contact a housing counseling agency certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These agencies also have housing counselors who can assist Spanish speakers with the forms. The agencies are:
- Community Housing Innovations, Inc., (914) 683-1010
- Housing Action Council, (914) 332-4144
- Human Development Services of Westchester, (914) 939-2005
- Westchester Residential Opportunities, (914) 428-4507
To qualify for any fair and affordable housing, would-be homeowners will be required to participate in a homeownership counseling program through one of these agencies.