Friday, October 30, 2009

New housing options for individuals with disabilities

The Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities' (OMRDD) 2009 Fall Housing Conference was extremely informative as organizations such as NeighborWorks America, Concepts of Independence, Dunn Development Co., The New York Association on Independent Living, USDA Rural Development and many more gathered to discuss the type of housing services and care their organizations provides.

The focus of the conference was to unify the fragmented world of available housing services provided for individuals with disabilities. The housing divisions of all of these organizations are vital to the our community as many aspire to live a more independent life and ultimately attain their dream of homeownership. This dream can now become a reality through OMRDD's Home of Your Own (HOYO) program.

HOYO was created to not only assist our consumers in purchasing a home, but it is also designed to help income-eligible parents, legal guardians and direct support professionals that care for them to purchase a home as well.

The requirements of each classified individual vary in eligibility for the program, but some common requirements are that you must:

1)    Be a first time homebuyer
2)    Be a New York State resident
3)    Meet the designated income-eligibility requirements
4)    Complete a HUD-Certified First-Time Homebuyer training

One of the main benefits of HOYO is it allows you to open an Asset For Independence Individual Development Account (AFI/IDA). AFI is a federal grant program from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services that finances a five year Individual Development Account (IDA). Through these accounts OMRD and AFI will match your rate of savings 1:4, so that every dollar you place into your IDA account will be matched four times over, up to the account's allotted maximum. The mortgages for these homes will be provided through the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). SONYMA will finance 100% of these mortgages for a term of 30 to 40 years and have a fixed interest rate of 4%. There are currently 12 counties in New York where AFI/IDA accounts will be available. For more information contact Michael Cortes at (212) 678-4700 or mcortes at

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