Who qualifies and how to apply for zero interest home equity loans in North and South Omaha
By Aaron Bonderson , Report for America Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
June 19, 2023, 11:30 a.m. ·
An Omaha organization launched a pilot project to provide home improvement loans to formerly redlined areas.
Homeowners in formerly redlined areas of North and South Omaha will be able to apply for 0% interest home loans starting on Juneteenth. The loans are for home improvement or preservation, and the maximum amount is $50,000 paid back over 30 years.
Preserving current homes is one of several priorities to improve the housing market in Omaha, according to the City of Omaha Planning Department’s Housing Affordability Action Plan.
Front Porch Investments is running the program and calls it the Greenlining Fund. The program is aimed at alleviating decades of disinvestment in northeast and southeast Omaha from redlining.
Redlining was a common practice of not insuring home loans in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods until it was outlawed in 1960, but communities are still rebounding.
To be eligible, applicants must be at least 19 years of age, an owner of a residential single-family home as their primary residence and have an income that is at or less than 120% of the area median income. The applicant should also live in a formerly redlined area. Exact eligibility and prioritization guidelines can also be found on Front Porch Investment’s website.
120% of Area Median Income for Omaha-Council Bluffs Metro Area — According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
- 1 person household limit = $84,600
- 2 person household limit = $96,650
- 3 person household limit = $108,750
- 4 person household limit = $120,850
- 5 person household limit = $130,500
- 6 person household limit = $140,150
- 7 person household limit = $149,850
- 8 person household limit = $159,500
A total of 40 eligible applicants will be randomly selected to participate in the pilot Greenlining Fund, according to a release from the organization. This first round of loans will include $1 million of total investment.
Priority will be given to people of color — specifically Black people, Indigenous people and others whose ancestors were affected by redlining in Omaha. After hearing feedback on the pilot fund, a second round of loans will be available with an additional $4 million.
A Front Porch Investments spokesperson said future programs may include homebuyer support and could expand beyond redlined areas. Homebuyer support is needed in Omaha as finding an affordable home becomes more challenging.
The following open house educational events will be held to help eligible people learn more about the Greenlining Fund:
- June 27, 2023 - 11am-1pm; The Venue at Highlander, 2120 N. 30th Street
- June 27, 2023 - 5pm-7pm; (American Sign Language and Spanish interpreters will be available); The Venue at Highlander, 2120 N. 30th Street
- June 28, 2023 - 5pm-7pm; (American Sign Language and Spanish interpreters will be available); Offices of Canopy South, 2411 O St
The deadline to fill out an interest form is July 10. The firm will use the form to check for eligibility, and it is not considered a loan application. Residential real estate locations must be located in the red areas of this map to be eligible.
Once chosen for eligibility, homeowners apply for the loan. If approved, the resident will work with a contractor and their lender to determine how to best use the loan to improve their home.