December 2021

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a member who would like to participate in the Housing Our Workforce (HOW) program, it’s important that you ask the right questions and have reliable resources. Here are some frequently asked questions about HOW.

What is the Housing Our Workforce program?

Housing Our Workforce (HOW) provides down-payment assistance to homebuyers earning more than 80% and up to 120% of the area median income.

How does the program work?

HOW provides a two-to-one match of down payments made at time of purchase by eligible homebuyers. For example, if a homebuyer makes a $10,000 down payment, FHLBank Boston will provide a $20,000 match. Members approved to participate in the program may make enrollment requests of up to $20,000 per homebuyer from the pool of funds to assist income-eligible households on a first-come, first-served, homebuyer-by-homebuyer basis.

How does the match operate?

The homebuyer must contribute their down payment at the time they sign their purchase and sales agreement or amended addendum. The HOW grant cannot be matched with homebuyer cash to close. Members cannot request a grant amount that exceeds the difference between the purchase price minus the first mortgage loan amount. For example, if the purchase price is $300,000 with a first mortgage loan of $280,000, the maximum grant is $20,000.

Are there home purchase price limits associated with the program?

Yes. Home purchase price limits must conform with the average area purchase prices for mortgage revenue bonds found here*.

Can a homebuyer use the HOW program to purchase an investment property?

No. This program is designed to assist homebuyers who are purchasing owner-occupied primary residences. In addition, if the applicant for HOW funds currently owns a primary residence, they must sell the property prior to the purchase of the new owner-occupied, primary residence. They cannot keep the previous primary address and convert it into an investment property.

Can the homebuyer down-payment contribution be a gift or gift of equity?

No. Eligible homebuyers will receive a one-to-one match of down payments they make at time of purchase that must be evidenced on the executed purchase and sales agreement. This contribution must be the homebuyer’s own funds and not a gift or gift of equity. The homebuyer may receive an additional gift or gift of equity in the transaction; however, these sources of funds will not be calculated in the one-to-one match of the grant.

Is there a limit to how much funding my institution can access?

Yes, there is a member enrollment cap of up to $150,000 that is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can homebuyers apply directly to the program?

No, homebuyers must work with a member financial institution that has been approved to participate in the program. If you are a homebuyer, please contact a member financial institution to see if they are an approved participant.

*These prices, listed by county, change each year.