‘Instant hit’ ARPA program bringing American Dream to 33 new homeowners

Although the size and elongated shape of Covington make the details of this map difficult to read, the dots show how awards under the Homebuyer Assistance Program have been allocated in virtually every neighborhood. A separate but similar Mortgage Assistance Program was used in eight eligible neighborhoods.

$10K forgivable loans still available in separate but similar homebuyer assistance initiative

COVINGTON, Ky. – Thirty-three families have bought or are buying homes in qualified Covington neighborhoods, thanks to a one-time $500,000 mortgage assistance program set up using federal ARPA funds.

And while that program has run out of money just four months after it started, a long-standing City homebuyer assistance program with somewhat similar goals and rules continues to make loans.

“The ARPA program was an instant hit – it began in mid-December and by the end of March, all of its funds were reserved, with a waiting list in case any of the purchases fall through,” said John Hammons, the City’s CDBG/HOME program coordinator for Neighborhood Services. “Now, we’re focused on helping even more families buy a home with the help of our more traditional assistance program.”

The ARPA Mortgage Assistance Program offered $15,000 grants that were primarily used to buy down interest rates, saving owners significant money over the life of their loan. Under federal rules, it could be used only in certain neighborhoods hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hammons said it was used to help families buy homes in eight different neighborhoods: Eastside, Helentown, Austinburg, Old Town/Mutter Gottes, Peaselburg, Monte Casino, Ritte’s East Latonia, and Latonia Rosedale.

The City is not accepting any more applications for that program as it waits for the final agreements to be processed.

But Hammons is accepting applications for the longstanding Homebuyer Assistance program, which offers $10,000 forgivable loans to low-income buyers.

The money can be used for down payments and/or closing costs on homes throughout Covington, although they must meet property codes. The money comes in the form of a 10-year loan, but the interest rate is 0% and 10 percent of the loan is forgiven or written off each year the buyer stays in that home.

Covington has set aside $350,000 for the program in the city for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Since 2018 alone, the program has been used to help 302 families buy homes.

Applicants must receive housing counseling to prepare them for the buying process and understand the long-term costs of owning a home.

To apply

People can apply for the program online through the City’s Neighborly portal. The link for the portal and instructions for its use are on the City’s website on the Federal Grants page, under “Initiatives.” As indicated, you have to create a free account before you apply, and you will need an email address to do so.

For more information about the program or to start an application, contact John David Hammons at or (859) 292-2105.


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