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Homeownership Education and Resource Opportunities


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Frequently Asked Questions about Homeownership for Persons with Disabilities

How can I afford to purchase a home on a low income?

HERO Alliance partners and lenders offer special financing programs and down-payment assistance to eligible persons with disabilities as defined by the Social Security Administration. In addition, other programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program have allowed individuals with eligible Section 8 rental vouchers to purchase a home.

How much income do I need?

There is not a specific answer to this question. One must be able to afford a mortgage payment in addition to living expenses (food, transportation, etc) and should not pay more than 1/3 of their income toward housing.

Could I purchase a home with just SSI or SSDI?

Possibly. If you have only SSI and want to live in a metro area, you’ll likely need other resources and/or additional assistance. With SSDI it will depend on how much you receive and how much additional assistance you receive. Housing costs have risen dramatically in the metro areas making homes more difficult to afford.

Is there a HERO loan program?

No – the HERO Alliance does not administer any funds. All loan programs are through HERO partners and lenders. Programs such as Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s (CHFA) HomeAccess Mortgage Program, Wells Fargo’s Community Development Mortgage Program, and USDA/ Rural Development offer housing solutions for persons with disabilities at various income levels. The HERO Alliance can provide contact information for participating lenders.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Each program has its own income and eligibility requirements. In addition to meeting credit and income requirements, you will need to attend a homebuyer education class and have $750.00 of your own funds to put into the transaction. Contact the HERO Alliance for more information on specific programs and lender contact information.

Do I need good credit?

To be eligible for the disability loans, you need a FICO score of at least 620 or above. This is a FHA requirement. Collections, judgments, bankruptcies, and poor credit scores WILL affect your ability to be approved for a loan. If you do not have any traditional credit, the lender might be able to put together an “alternative credit” profile with utility bills, rent history, etc. If you are unsure about your credit, you can get one free copy of your credit report each year by visiting
www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have lots of debts, start to pay them off. Meet with a credit counselor or your service provider for help correcting your credit.

Can my family help me purchase a home?

In most cases, your family can help with the purchase of a home through down payment or other assistance with closing costs. Some programs allow co-signers or co-borrowers on the loan as well, although the Section 8 programs do not allow for non-occupying co-signers or co-borrowers.

What if my child has disabilities?

A family with a child with a disability is eligible for most assistance programs – as long as the family income is still within the income requirements. Contact the HERO Alliance for more information.

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (also called Section 8 Homeownership) allows a person or family, who is receiving a HUD Section 8 voucher through a participating housing authority, to use their Section 8 voucher towards the purchase of a home.

How do I know if my Section 8 voucher is eligible for homeownership?

Contact your housing provider and ask if they participate in the program and if so, if your voucher is eligible. Contractors for the Division of Housing (CoDOH), and SHHP participate as well as a couple individual housing authorities. The HERO Alliance can provide contact information.

If your Section 8 provider does not participate in the Homeownership Program, call your contact person at your housing authority to tell them that you want to purchase a home and their participation in the homeownership program would help make it possible.

What if I do not currently receive a Section 8 voucher?

If you are interested in Section 8 and ultimately homeownership, you need to contact a Public Housing Provider that participates in the homeownership program. The HERO Alliance can provide this information. However, waiting lists at many housing authorities are closed except for very short periods. Contact as many housing providers as you like in the areas where you are willing to live and ask if they have a separate ‘disability’ list. Section 8 assistance is not necessary to buy a home, but it will significantly increase the amount you qualify for.

What lender or real estate professionals can I use?

If you wish to participate in any of the homeownership programs, you must use a lender that is approved to work on these programs. The HERO Alliance can provide this list to you. You may choose to work with any Realtor that you wish, however many Realtors may not understand these programs unless they have received additional training. The HERO Alliance can provide a list of Realtors who have received training and have experience with these programs and working with persons with disabilities.

Will purchasing a home make me ineligible for other assistance programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, or Medicare?

No. A home, a car, your belongings and a Special Needs Trust are exempt assets according to Social Security and federal agencies. These assets do not count against a person receiving supports.

How do I move towards a home of my own?

Call the HERO Alliance at 720-941-8901 for information on the programs as well as a Homebuyer Education Class schedule. Attending the class is required and the first step towards homeownership.

Can I sell my home?

Yes, but you will have to repay down-payment assistance when the title transfers to another person.

What happens to the home if I die?

As with other assets, you should write a will. Otherwise, probate laws take over and the home passes to your next of kin. They will have to repay down-payment assistance when the title transfers to another person as well as pay the mortgage and any homeowner association dues.