Commission considers Welcome Home Wyoming program
March 12, 2020
The County Commissioners have been asked to consider passing a resolution to allow the Cheyenne Housing Authority to launch its “Welcome Home Wyoming” program in Crook County.
“Welcome Home Wyoming is designed to offer down-payment assistance to people otherwise qualified to be homeowners,” Greg Hancock, Executive Director of the Cheyenne Housing Authority told the commissioners on Wednesday.
A resolution is necessary to establish jurisdiction within the county, Hancock said; the program itself would be available through local mortgage brokers, such as banks. If the commission passes the resolution, he added, the individual municipalities would not need to do so individually as the whole county would be covered.
Cheyenne Housing Authority is one of eight housing authorities across the state. Typically, said Hancock, the organization has focused on rental accommodation, and noticed that, “Across the state, rental housing is in short supply”.
A lot of renters would like to become homeowners, Hancock continued, but lack the ability to make the down-payment. He argued that homeownership stabilizes the workforce, which in turn stabilizes the local economy.
“It’s been helpful, we’ve housed over 600 households over the last five years,” he said of the Welcome Home Wyoming program.
U.S. Bank is the source of the money and responsible for ensuring it is paid back on time, Hancock said.
Commissioner Fred Devish asked for clarification on how the loan works: does the home buyer than have a higher interest loan? Hancock confirmed that, yes, the interest rate is slightly higher so as to repay the loan to U.S. Bank.
Passing the resolution is not a promotion or obligation of the program, Hancock explained, but provides another “arrow in the quiver” for mortgage brokers to help people become homeowners. The local lender benefits through the origination fee, U.S. Bank gets a small increase on interest, the housing authority gets a small reimbursement to cover its cost and the borrower “gets the biggest benefit” by achieving homeownership, he said.
The commissioners took Hancock’s presentation under advisement and said they would consider the resolution before making a decision. County Attorney Joe Baron recommended speaking with area banks to find out their opinion of the program and ask them to explain it from a local perspective.