NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans announced that it has been awarded $3 million in community development grants to help offset costs for people looking to purchase their first home.

The Soft Second Mortgage Program will pay up to $35,000 for down payments and another $5,000 in closing cost assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers. 

Homebuyers that enter the program must live at that home for the loan to be forgiven. Homebuyers that move or sell the home before the end of the fifth year will have to repay the entire loan back.

The number of people in a household and their salary will determine if a potential homebuyer is eligible.  To be eligible to receive the grants, homebuyer's income can not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is $65,000 in New Orleans. 

According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, homebuyers who live alone cannot make more than $36,750 to be eligible. A family of four can not make more than $52,500 to be eligible.

Click here for more information about HUD's AMI guidelines.

Homebuyers will also need to complete a homeownership training course by a certified agency and qualify for a mortgage from an approved lender.

If you are interested in the program, you will want to start moving fast. Funds became available Monday.

For more information contact Tonya Bernard 504-658-4245, Taymia Muse 504-658-4243 or Lindsay Smith 504-658-4244. 

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WWL-TV reporter Meghan Kee can be reached at mkee@wwltv.com; Follow her on Twitter at @MeghanKeeWWL