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Palm Beach County officials introduce new assistance for homeowners and homebuyers

Florida Daily Life
Steve Helber
/
AP
Visitors crowd the docks and displays of new and used boats at the 40th annual Palm Beach International boat show in West Palm Beach, Fla., Saturday, March 26, 2022. The event featuring more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from 8-foot inflatables to superyachts nearly 300 feet in length. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

State officials recently announced $676 million in federal funds that could help struggling homeowners. And now officials in Palm Beach County say they want to increase participation in that and other local programs that could also help first-time homebuyers.

Home prices hovering over half a million dollars are simply out of reach for many people in Palm Beach County.

Jonathan Brown is the Housing & Economic Development Director for the county.

Brown says the county is attracting businesses that pay higher wages. But home prices are still too high for many workers.

"Palm Beach County is paradise. So, everyone wants to be here, and with the ability to remote work, it has created more opportunities for individuals to relocate to the county," Brown said. "We’re finding it hard for them to find housing that’s affordable for them to purchase." 

The county’s new first-time homebuyer program beginning June 20 will help low-income residents with a down payment, closing costs and other financial assistance.

And people can access the county’s foreclosure prevention program on the county’s website beginning on June 27.

Brown says he wants to increase awareness for programs targeting struggling homeowners.

"Ultimately, how many of those dollars are actually used because $676 million is coming on the heels of many counties and cities already providing mortgage and foreclosure relief to their residents," Brown said. "But we’ll see. We’ll see how many are still out there that need help." 

Wilkine Brutus is a reporter and producer for WLRN and a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute. The South Florida native produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs.