The city of Long Beach will open the application process for its First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program on March 15, which will provide approximately 100 eligible families with up to $20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance, the city announced today.

Facilitated by the Development Services Department and made possible by the Long Beach Recovery Act, the grant program will assist low- and moderate-income households traditionally underrepresented in homeownership with purchasing their first home and building multi-generational wealth.

Eligibility requirements include being a first-time homebuyer, which the city defines as someone who has not owned a home in the past three years, and applicants must also be a first-generation homebuyer. Applicants must also presently reside within a federal Community Development Block Grant designated census tract in Long Beach, although awarded funds may be used to purchase a home anywhere in Long Beach. A full list of eligibility requirements and guidelines are available online.

Throughout February, the city will host a series of orientation sessions to help residents to see if they meet the eligibility requirements:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway. RSVP online to attend.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. RSVP online to receive the meeting link and dial-in details.
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bret Harte Neighborhood Library, 1595 W. Willow St. RSVP online to attend.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, 5 to 6 p.m. at Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave. RSVP online to attend.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Mark Twain Neighborhood Library, 1401 E. Anaheim St. RSVP online to attend.

Prior to signing up to attend an orientation session, residents are encouraged to confirm they are eligible to apply for the program by completing a pre-application self-screening form. Interpretation services will be available in Spanish and Khmer during the presentations.

The virtual information sessions will also be recorded and made available on the program website for those who are unable to attend the live information sessions.

“Down payment assistance helped me to become a first-time homebuyer in Long Beach more than a decade ago. It provided me the economic and housing stability to put down roots and raise a family,” said Mayor Rex Richardson in a statement. “However, families today are facing more barriers than ever in achieving the dream of homeownership. Now is the time to restore this important program and give Long Beach families an opportunity to buy their first home in our great city.”

The program application will be available in English, Spanish and Khmer as well as other languages by request. Due to the high level of interest, eligible residents are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

Complete applications will be processed in the order that they are received. The application will remain open until the program funding has been committed. Hard copies of the application will be available upon request to the program’s vendor, FORWARD, which is managing the application and review process, including assisting residents with completing applications.

While applicants will be notified after applying if they are eligible, it will not be clear if funds will be awarded until opening escrow, city officials said in a recent interview.

“This down payment assistance program provides an amazing opportunity for eligible residents to purchase their first home and grow roots in Long Beach,” said Acting Housing and Neighborhood Services Bureau Manager Alem Hagos in a statement. “Our housing team remains dedicated to promoting equity and supporting those who are traditionally underrepresented in homeownership.”

The public is encouraged to sign up to receive updates and further details as they become available.

For questions, call the Long Beach Resource Line at (562) 570-4246 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Long Beach’s new first-time homebuyer assistance program to offer $20K grants