Broward teacher facing long odds to buy first home despite Hometown Heroes program

Audrey J. Powers

FORT LAUDERDALE – First-time homebuyers in a service job, like police officer, firefighter or teacher, are eligible to apply for a new Florida program that helps with upfront costs.

The Hometown Heroes program was unveiled by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week and it’s generating a lot of buzz.

Broward special education teacher Wendy Samuels is hoping she is approved. Like so many South Florida teachers, she is desperately looking to buy a home.

“I’m a single mom with two daughters, so I need a home for us and I also want to leave behind a legacy for them,” she said.

The program provides up to $25,000 in down payments and closing costs. But you must have a minimum 640 credit score to qualify.

“We are getting 10 to 15 calls a day right now,” said loan officer David Sheir with movement mortgage in Davie.

He says while Hometown Heroes is a definite incentive for teachers, limited supply and high asking prices are making it tough for buyers.

“Houses are not staying on the market very long. The ones that do go on have multiple offers. So, while the program helps a buyer, it doesn’t free up the supply side issue,” he said.

Samuels knows she’s facing long odds.

“It’s not affordable. I’ve thought of leaving, but I would rather stay in South Florida,” she said.

The housing crisis is leaving many desperate for help. That’s why CBS News Miami wants to share your stories to show the crisis you’re in or how you navigated the system. We will highlight these issues and work to get answers and solutions. Send us an email at [email protected].  

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