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Grants help military families buy homes

Jan. 20, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Service members and veterans of all branches of the military are eligible to apply for PenFed Foundation's Dream Makers program. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
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More than 200 military families in 39 states received grants last year from the nonprofit Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation to help with the down payment and closing costs to buy homes — generally their first homes, according to foundation officials.

PenFed Foundation’s Dream Makers program will match, three-to-one, the amount of money that military families contribute to their own mortgage financing, up to $5,000. The minimum amount required for families to contribute is $500.

Service members and veterans of all branches of the military are eligible to apply. That includes active duty as well as Guard and Reserve members. Widows of service members are also eligible.

Those eligible are first-time home buyers, or have not owned a home for the last three years. Those who have lost their homes through divorce or disaster may also qualify. The gross annual income for all the applicants used to qualify for the mortgage cannot exceed the greater of $55,000 or 80 percent of the area median income, adjusted for family size.

“Many families struggle to buy their first home, but for military families, it can be even harder,” said Christopher Flynn, president and CEO of the PenFed Foundation, in the organization’s announcement about the grants. “From frequent moves around the country and overseas to trouble saving money for a down payment, members of our armed services often have to postpone this important milestone.

“Our Dream Makers program helps bridge that gap.”

The borrower must attend an approved first-time homebuyer’s course presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The foundation is a national charitable arm of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which covers the foundation’s labor and rental administrative expenses. PenFed Foundation’s mission, accomplished through several programs, is to meet the unmet needs of military personnel and their families in the areas of financial literacy, housing and support for the wounded.

More information about applying for this and other programs is available at penfedfoundation.org.

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