Funding will be available to low- and middle-income teachers, first responders, families and individuals to purchase their first home in San Francisco

City of San Francisco logoSan Francisco Mayor London N. Breed Feb. 17 announced the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) is issuing a new round of Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (DALP) funds for first-time homeownership opportunities. This year’s DALP program will distribute over $27 million to up to 80 households and is part of the Mayor’s efforts to make San Francisco a more equitable and affordable place to live.

“As we get on the road to recovery, I want to make sure that San Francisco remains a city for all and is a place where people can afford to live,” said Mayor Breed. “Just as we need to keep building housing to ensure we have enough supply, we also need to continue our programs like this one that help people purchase a home, put down roots in the community, and find a place they can call home for years to come. Giving people the help they need to invest in their community and make San Francisco their home for the long-term is how we’ll build back our city even stronger than before.”

DALP provides up to $375,000 in down payment assistance to low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of any market-rate primary residence in San Francisco. The funds are available to a wide range of households earning a variety of incomes.

As San Francisco pursues economic recovery, the stability of low- and moderate-income families is central to their ability to prepare for and access the opportunities that will emerge. Moreover, the preservation of equitable ownership opportunities has the two-fold impact of enabling regular San Francisco families to harness the wealth building potential that homeownership has always meant in the United States as well as protecting the perseverance of long standing San Francisco communities and preventing displacement.

Down payment assistance is available to:

  • General public households earning up to 175% of Area Median Income (AMI), or $156,900 for a single individual;
  • Educators employed with the San Francisco Unified School District earning up to 200% AMI or $179,300 for a single individual ;
  • First responder (active, uniformed members of the Fire, Police, or Sheriff’s Departments) households earning up to 200% AMI or $179,300 for a single individual.

“Over the years, I have seen how DALP transformed the lives of first-time homeowners and I want to see this program not only succeed, but expand. I want to see more programs for other essential workers, such as our early care educators who are struggling to live in the neighborhoods they serve,” said Supervisor Myrna Melgar. “It is not just about the financial assistance, but financial literacy and support that the program provides. Most people, especially immigrants and working-class people do not have the same access to capital or the knowledge to navigate the homebuying process. I am proud that San Francisco invests in the economic empowerment of our families and communities that will have long-lasting benefits.”

In order to be eligible to apply for DALP funds, applicants must attend 10 hours of first-time homebuyer education and receive first mortgage loan pre-approval from a MOHCD-approved lender. There are no monthly payments required as part of the program. When the homeowner sells or transfers the property, they pay back the original loan amount, plus an equitable share of the appreciation.

“Even though the DALP process can be overwhelming, it is manageable. My wife and I are not in tech/bio-tech, medical, or other high earning fields and we probably would not have been able to afford a home in San Francisco without DALP,” said general DALP recipient Ronnie Bautista. “We hope other families such as ours who do not come from wealth, or have relative high incomes, or have limited resources put in an application to DALP. Being a native San Franciscan, DALP made homeownership a reality.”

Prospective homebuyers will be able to begin to apply for DALP on the MOHCD website on February 26, 2021. As with all MOHCD housing programs, the City consistently sees strong demand and as a result, lotteries are administered to award funds. Applicants who submit a lottery application before the application deadline will be placed in a lottery that will take place on June 1, 2021 with applicants being notified shortly thereafter.

“We are excited to launch this year’s Downpayment Assistance Loan Program which creates another opportunity for local residents to pursue their dream of homeownership” said Eric Shaw MOHCD Director. “We see DALP as one of our crucial investments in creating housing opportunity for all San Franciscans. We know homeownership can be a challenge for many without down payment assistance and see this as one of the office’s many investments in creating housing opportunities for all residents. Down payment assistance is not enough, which is why we also fund in housing counseling and financial literacy to provide much needed support for those looking to purchase a home.”

MOHCD invests in five agencies who are available year-round for homeownership counseling and financial literacy across the City. In addition, local City partner Homeownership SF will be hosting a three-day virtual Housing Expo on March 4, 5, and 6 where interested first-time homebuyers can meet with homeownership counselors and begin the process of homebuyer education. More information about the virtual event and registration can be found here.

“The DALP program made buying a home a possibility,” said Maria Ruiz. “Without it we too would have moved out of San Francisco and would have to relocate our entire family as well as our jobs.”

“You just keep pushing forward and keep trying which I did,” said Cheryl Liu, SFUSD 2nd Grade Teacher who received DALP funds and was able to purchase a home in District 11. “I don’t have to worry about paying rent or being pushed out to the suburbs for something more affordable.”

This set of DALP funds is part of the annual release of general Downpayment Assistance Loan dollars. The City has worked to expand this program and ensure diverse communities have access to this money and to match local resources with the immense need. Additional DALP funds specifically targeting the most vulnerable and under-resourced communities are scheduled to be released in late summer 2021.