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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Home-buying assistance arrives in Gurabo

Housing Finance Authority official Xavier Ramírez (Richard Gutiérrez/The San Juan Daily Star)

By Richard Gutiérrez

The island Housing Department held an orientation event on Thursday in the Fernando Rube Hernández Coliseum in Gurabo to promote its Home Buyer Assistance program. More than just spreading awareness of the program’s benefits, the aim of the event was to teach new buyers how the program works, what the qualifications are, and how to verify their qualification step by step.

“The Home Buyer Assistance program is a $60,000 incentive to those who are eligible by income and family composition” Xavier Ramírez of the Housing Finance Authority told the STAR. “Basically what we are doing here in the Gurabo Municipality is orientating citizens who are interested in buying a home and taking our housing advisory course, but don’t have the funds to purchase a home,” he said. “This is strictly for people who don’t have a property of their own and qualify because of family composition and income limits.”

Ramírez said the program has been beneficial to many islanders who previously didn’t have their own home.

“We’ve impacted over 7,340 families in Puerto Rico thanks to this assistance and have disbursed $262 million,” he said. “We currently have $495 million assigned by the Housing Department.” “We’re working hard alongside financial institutions that decide to participate in the program,” the official added. “We have over 62 financial institutions, six agencies, one of them being Consumer Credit, which is here to take care of registration in order for people to take our course, which is obligatory in order to benefit from the $60,000 aid and hopefully qualify for the economic benefit to cover housing down payments.”

Ramírez noted that the funds are assigned by the U.S. Congress to the island Housing Department, which in turn assigned them to the Housing Finance Authority in order to manage the incentive with care.

But why does the government suddenly care about people owning their own home?

“When hurricanes Irma and Maria happened, we had a large number of people moving to the United States,” Ramírez said. “Our goal is to keep the Puerto Rican talent as much as possible, so they are able to buy a dignified and secure home for all of those who qualify for the program.”

The event was well attended by residents of Gurabo, and the registration line seemed endless. One resident who was interested in the program, Iram Ríos, told the STAR, “I like living in Puerto Rico, but a lot of the conditions and quality of life make it difficult to live here.”

“I came here because of how difficult these economic times are, and owning a property would most certainly incentivize me to stay on the island because it would take an economic weight off my shoulders,” Ríos said. “So I see this as a good opportunity.”

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