BHA First Home Program FAQs

What is the BHA First Home Program?
BHA’s First Home Program is a partnership with the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Housing where the City will provide eligible BHA residents with enhanced down payment assistance of up to $75,000 for a home purchased within the City of Boston. Homeownership is key to building wealth and this program aims to address the historical racial homeownership gap experienced by people of color in Boston.

I applied to the homeownership program in the past, do I have to apply again?
YES, you must submit a new application as applications and vouchers expire. We can only provide communication and services for applicants who have submitted an application.

Is the First Home Program the same as the FSS Program?
NO, The First Home Program provides down payment assistance to eligible BHA residents seeking to buy a home in the City of Boston. The FSS (Family Self Sufficiency) Program provides participants in the federally-funded Housing Choice Voucher Program (commonly known as Section 8) the opportunity to save part of their rent increase when they increased their earned income.  

Is the First Home Program the same as the Section 8 Homeownership Program?
NO, The BHA First Home Program is upfront cost homebuying assistance for BHA homebuyers purchasing in Boston with funding provided by the City of Boston. The Section 8 program is a federal voucher program where homebuyers can use their monthly subsidy (HAP=Housing Assistance Payment) towards a mortgage instead of a rental. All BHA Section 8 residents seeking to use their Section 8 subsidy towards a mortgage must submit an application to the First Home Program whether they seek to buy a home within or outside of Boston!

I am elderly/disabled, do I qualify for this program?
Although you can be exempt from the minimum income requirement you must provide proof of income from disability/benefits.
Keep in mind although you're eligible to participate, successful homeownership is still contingent upon your ability and financial means to secure a mortgage and a property to purchase. The high cost real estate market in Boston is challenging for all buyers even buyers with higher income levels.
The lower your income the more challenging it can be to purchase a home. This program does not guarantee you will be able to purchase a home. The program simply provides upfront cost assistance and allows you to use your rental subsidy towards a mortgage instead of rent. Homeownership is associated with higher monthly expenses compared to a rental unit such as interest required to borrow a mortgage loan, higher utility cost/HOA fees, insurance, etc.

I have voucher from Metro Housing or another housing authority, do I qualify? What about portability into BHA?
NO, BHA programs are for current BHA tenants only. Portability into BHA for homeownership is not available at this time.

I have an MRVP voucher from BHA, do I qualify?
BHA MRVP voucher holders are eligible for $75,000 down payment assistance if purchasing a home within Boston but NOT eligible for monthly mortgage subsidy.

I am in BHA Public Housing, do I qualify?
BHA public housing tenants are eligible for $75,000 down payment assistance if purchasing a home within Boston but NOT eligible for monthly mortgage subsidy.

Who should lenders and realtors contact for information related to down payment assistance?
Questions related to down payment assistance should typically be directed to The City of Boston Mayor's Office of Housing.

Why was the BHA First Home Program created?
The First Home Program was created to address the historical racial homeownership gap in Boston. BHA is partnering with the City of Boston Mayor's Office of Housing to provide the financial resources necessary to make home buying affordable for lower income households.
Why is the City of Boston partnering with BHA?
BHA is the largest housing provider in Boston with a mission to build healthy and sustainable communities. This partnership provides the necessary resources to make home buying accessible to lower income Boston residents while preserving the livelihood and diverse cultural landscape communities in Boston.
Who is eligible for the program?
All current BHA residents who purchase in Boston are eligible for the assistance, and they can combine the City's assistance with other eligible homebuying assistance programs such as MassDreams and STASH.
How many people will the program serve?
Based on the funding dedicated to the First Home Program, BHA has a goal of supporting up to 100 households towards homeownership over the next two years 
Who do I contact if I have questions about the program?
To learn more about the program please visit the BHA First Home main webpage or submit questions by email.
I am a BHA resident, how do I enroll in the program?
All applicants must submit their application via the online interest form located on the First Home Program webpage

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