California Bill Could Give Undocumented Immigrants Right to First-Time Homebuyer Assistance

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For those approved, the program provides loans for 20 percent of a home’s value, but no greater than $150,000.

A new bill introduced last month in California could allow undocumented immigrants to receive the same benefits as citizens when purchasing a home for the first time.

Assembly Bill 1840, introduced Jan. 16 by Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, would change existing law to allow undocumented immigrants to be eligible for the California Dream for All Fund, which provides loans for a down payment on a home for first-time buyers.

“I wanted to ensure that qualified first-time homebuyers include undocumented applicants,” Mr. Arambula told GV Wire, an online news outlet based in Fresno.

The program already does not cost the state—as loans made are paid back eventually along with an appreciation fee—he said, and adding undocumented immigrants would only widen the pool of applicants, he told the news outlet.

For those approved, the program provides loans for 20 percent of a home’s value, but no greater than $150,000, and purchasers repay it when selling or transferring the property plus 20 percent of any appreciation in its value. Those who make less than their county’s area median income pay 15 percent of the appreciation.

According to Mr. Arambula, $500 million for the program was allocated in the 2022-23 state budget and since it receives money back from homebuyers with an appreciation payment, it actually makes money to reinvest to new first-time buyers.

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“This won’t affect the state budget. It recovers its investment, he said, “and can then extend loans to other qualified applicants.”

Since its introduction last year, $300 million in loans were claimed in just 11 days, according to CalMatters. Around 2,500 home buyers were helped last year on a first come first serve basis. Now, the program is administered by lottery where 2,000 homebuyers are expected to share $250 million in state funds this year.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly committee on Housing and Community Development and is waiting to be heard.

Mr. Arambula did not return a request for comment.

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