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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 3, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 5
House Hunting? State Steps In to Sweeten Ownership Incentives


By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced last week a new state-funded homeownership assistance program that, when coupled with existing programs, could provide Johns Hopkins University employees up to $11,000 in the form of grants and loans toward the purchase of a home in selected neighborhoods near JHU campuses.

In a press conference held at the East Baltimore campus on Thursday, Ehrlich and other officials of the state, city and Johns Hopkins unveiled House Keys 4 Employees, an innovative partnership between the state and Maryland employers that enables eligible Johns Hopkins homebuyers to receive up to $3,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance, in addition to what is already available through such incentive programs as Live Near Your Work and DSELP (Downpayment and Settlement Expense Loan Program).

The Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Health System was the first major employer to sign on to House Keys 4 Employees, which went into effect Oct. 1. Other participants to date are the College of Notre Dame and the city of Annapolis.

Under the new program, the state Department of Housing and Community Development will, in JHU's case, provide to eligible potential homebuyers a dollar-for-dollar match of the city's Live Near Your Work grant in the form of a no-interest mortgage loan. The loan does not have to be repaid until the house is refinanced or sold. Any borrower who receives a Live Near Your Work grant and meets the eligibility criteria under the More House 4 Less Maryland Mortgage Program may participate in House Keys 4 Employees.

Started in 1995, the JHU Live Near Your Work program offers grants toward the down payment or closing costs on the purchase of a home in three targeted areas — Homewood, East Baltimore and Mt. Vernon, near the Peabody Institute campus — to employees working at any university location. Previously, employees were eligible to receive a maximum of $2,000 in assistance — $1,000 from Johns Hopkins matched by $1,000 from Baltimore City. On Oct. 1, LNYW will add a Tier 1 area in the close vicinity of the Homewood campus where homebuyers can receive $3,000 in assistance.

The new Tier 1 area is roughly bounded by the Jones Falls Expressway to the west, Loch Raven Boulevard to the east, University Parkway to the north and 25th Street to the south. The overall Homewood target area extends from North Avenue to the south to Argonne Drive and 40th street to the north.

The Peabody LNYW boundaries are Chase Street to the north, Mulberry Street to the south, Howard Street to the west and Guilford Street to the east. The East Baltimore target area stretches from Guilford Street to the west and the county line to the east and includes the following streets and avenues: Aisquith, North, Milton, Federal, Edison, Monument, Kresson, Lombard, O'Donnell, Haven, Eastern, Central and Fayette.

Funds for LNYW are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to full-time benefit-eligible university employees in good standing and of any income level.

In addition to LNYW and House Keys 4 Employees, potential homebuyers can avail themselves of DSELP, which provides a maximum of $5,000 in assistance in the form of a no-interest second mortgage loan to help cover settlement expenses not covered by the first mortgage loan. Like the House Keys 4 Employees program, the DSELP loan does not have to be repaid until the house is refinanced or sold. To qualify for a DSELP loan, applicants must be using a CDA Maryland Mortgage Program first mortgage and meet the income limits and maximum acquisition costs. The new home must also be located in a priority funding area, which includes all of Baltimore City and various locations throughout the state.

If eligible for all three programs, a potential borrower can receive up to $11,000 in home-buying assistance.

Katherine Giuriceo, manager of WorkLife Programs at Johns Hopkins, said that the additional incentives that went into effect Oct. 1 should make it even more attractive for university employees to buy a home near where they work.

"We hope this new program draws a lot of people in. Certainly, this is a significant amount when you're talking about closing costs," Giuriceo said. "People who previously were not able to make the leap can now be homeowners. That is our hope. And even those who choose not to live in Baltimore City can perhaps still make use of the DSELP loan."

For more information on home-buying assistance programs, go to:

or call WorkLife at 443-997-7000 (Homewood) or 443-287-7000 (East Baltimore). A map of the Live Near Your Work target areas is available online at:


To Learn More About Owning a Home

WorkLife is offering a workshop for people who want to learn more about the home ownership incentive programs that Johns Hopkins offers.

"You Too Can Own a Home" will be held on the East Baltimore campus on Monday, Dec. 5, and on the Homewood campus on Friday, Dec. 9. Each workshop will go from noon to 1 p.m. Representatives from the university's and hospital's Live Near Your Work and House Keys 4 Employees programs, St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center and Baltimore Housing Office of Home Ownership will be presenting and available to answer questions.

To register, contact WorkLife programs at 443-997-7000 (Homewood) and 443-287-7000 (East Baltimore).


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