April 2, 2020

Mayor Baraka commits $1 million to Live Newark in COVID-19 relief program to keep home-owning dreams alive

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Increasing the number of homeowners in Newark has always been a cornerstone of Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s vision of the City.

From the earliest days of his administration, the Mayor held seminars to lead people through the home buying process and connected them with ways to get financial assistance and prevent foreclosures.

The Live Newark program has been helping people become homeowners and build personal wealth since 2016. But with the COVID-19 crisis at hand, the Mayor has injected another $1 million into the program to avoid a backslide of the progress Newark has made.

“Home ownership is the key to safe and stable neighborhoods,” the Mayor said. “Increasing home ownership is a key part of our overall vision for economic growth in the City. We’ve made significant advances in this area and I don’t want the COVID-19 health crisis to set us back.”

The new program will provide a $5,000 down payment in forgivable loans to first-time home buyers and forgivable loans up to $15,000 for homeowners undertaking external repairs. There will also be $5,000 down payment in forgivable loans to City employees. The forgivable loan terms all require the recipient to live in the house for at least five years.

Applications for this Live Newark program can be found at:

“The economic impact of this health crisis makes it harder for Newark residents to become homeowners and existing homeowners to make improvements,” said Mayor Baraka. “Expanding the Live Newark program will expand City home ownership and let residents repair and enhance their homes in these very difficult times.”

One of the beneficiaries of the Live Newark program is Christine Evans, who closed on an abandoned two-family house in the Weequahic section on March 11.

“The program aided me with money for the closing costs and now I’ll be able to update the house and make the outside presentable,” said Christine, who is a court administrator. “This program can help anybody become a homeowner. You don’t have to be a millionaire. I’ve been telling everybody about it.”

What’s best, Christine said, was now she has a place of her own that her three grandchildren can visit and build a lifetime of memories.

“That’s why I did it,” she said, “and to show them if you work hard and put your mind to it, they can one day own a home.”

- Newark News