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'Hometown Heroes' housing program launches this week

Frontline workers and veterans can receive money toward the purchase of their first home.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — In the face of the ongoing issues with the housing market and rising rent prices, Florida's new program to help the Sunshine State's military and frontline workers afford a place to live kicks off Wednesday.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Hometown Heroes housing program last week. Through it, military members, veterans, first responders, medical personnel like nurses, teachers, and workers in more than 50 occupations are eligible for money to go to the purchase of their first home.

“We want to make sure that those frontline workers, people we consider to be hometown heroes are able to not only work and serve the community but do so where they are able to afford things like buying their first home,” DeSantis said at the time.

To qualify for the program, you must connect with a participating loan officer, provide certification for your occupation, have a minimum credit score of 640 and meet the income threshold for your county.

Qualified applicants can receive lower rates, fees and up to 5% of their first mortgage loan amount in down payment and closing cost assistance.

The program opens on June 1 and people could begin seeing those savings by July 1.

Here in the Tampa Bay Area, we are seeing firsthand the impact the rising cost of living is having on frontline workers and our military, as expressed at a Hillsborough County meeting earlier this month.

"These families going further and further away to stay within a family budget has the potential to impact our forces to train, and to respond to their missions,” said U.S. Air Force Vice Commander Col. Cory Damon.

For more information on the program and a detailed look at the qualifications, click here.

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