LAYTON -- Four Layton families are benefiting from the $5,000 each received from the Down Payment Assistance Grants program.
Two will use the money to help buy existing homes, while two other families will buy new homes.
"This benefits individuals who are struggling to the point where they might not be able to acquire the home that they would want to acquire," said Layton Mayor Steve Curtis. "So it's good for the community, good for the individual, and it gets them an opportunity that normally would not exist."
Each year, Layton sets aside money from the federal Community Development Block Grant the city receives in order to help potential home buyers.
"The home ownership program really helps increase awareness for people to get to purchase homes now, and there isn't really a better time than right now to do that," said Ben Hart, Layton's economic development specialist. "You can get a lot of house for the dollar compared to two or three years ago."
Hart said awarding of the grants is income-based, meaning the recipients cannot exceed certain income thresholds. The city takes into consideration the families' adjusted gross incomes, and the criteria depends on how many people are in each family.
For example, Hart said, a family of four could not have more than a $55,000 yearly income. A family of one could not make more than $39,000 per year and a family of eight needed to make less than $68,000 per year.
This is the fourth year Layton has used part of its CDBG to help families buy homes. Last year, city officials set aside $35,000 for the program, which helped seven families. This year, because of federal budget cuts, the city could only set aside $20,000. That was enough, though, for four families.
Layton received $372,000 last year in the form of the CDBG; however, this year's total will be $311,196.
"That is disappointing, but yet I also feel that with the economy the way it is, it's understandable that everybody has to tighten their belt in some way," Curtis said. "Although the tightening hurts people that could possibly have a greater opportunity in this instance to acquire a home, I can understand, since this is part of a down economy."