Homeownership Assistance

Funds are available 

The Housing Trust provides first time homebuyers access to purchase assistance programs for low to middle–income households. Since 2001, 40% of all down payment assistance loans have been made to low-income families with the remainder going to moderate-income families. First time homebuyers can review key program information about available down payment assistance or closing costs grant programs. Eligibility for each program will vary and are based on income eligibility. Income eligibility is determined by the annual gross household income, household size, loan repayment terms and maximum loan amount.

Income Limits- Each program has a maximum annual gross household income limit or cap depending on the household size. Annual gross household income is based on the annual gross income of all adult household members. The annual gross is determined by review of all adult household members’ current paystubs.

Available Programs

Housing Trust Silicon Valley is proud to offer first time homebuyers the opportunity to apply for one of the following programs:

Homebuyer Empowerment Loan Program (HELP) – The HELP program assists first time homebuyers with incomes that are slightly higher than most down payment assistance programs will allow. This equity (appreciation) share program offers a deferred loan of thirty (30) years and down payment assistance of up to 10% of the purchase price.

Empower Homebuyers SCC This new thirty (30) year deferred loan program will offer first time homebuyers up to 17% of the purchase price in down payment assistance. This programs has an equity (appreciation) share component in lieu of interest.

City of Santa Clara Below Market Purchase (BMP) program– This affordable housing program offers first time homebuyers the opportunity to purchase a city-designated home at a below market rate price within the City of Santa Clara. Priority levels and income limits apply.

For updates and upcoming workshops/homebuyer fairs, click here to join the interest list!

Follow these Steps to Down Payment Assistance and Homeownership!

Before Applying

1) Review Steps to Homeownership

2) Fill out an online Homeownership Assistance Intake Form and receive pre-purchase counseling. Upon submission, allow up to 72 hours to hear from our Homebuyer programs team.

3) All borrowers (including non-borrowing spouses) attend an in-person HUD certified 8 hour Homebuyer Education class through Project Sentinel. Visit Project Sentinel website for upcoming classes.

4) For a Lender referral, contact HTSV to complete your prescreening and find a Preferred Lender for First Mortgage Loan Pre-approval. A Preapproval letter is required to determine Program Eligibility.

5) Not sure your lender is approved? Contact us at homebuyer@housingtrustsv.org and we will verify you are working with an approved lender.


How to Apply 

Program Eligibility Determination is required prior to purchasing a home.

  1. After receiving a Lender Preapproval, the first-time homebuyer completes the Homebuyer Assistance Program Eligibility Application and set an appointment to submit along with the required documents.
  2. Upon eligibility determination, applicants receive a Program Eligibility Determination letter. Applicants can now purchase a market-value home.

After Property Selection and Purchase Agreement Signed-Purchase Loan Application

Lender completes Homebuyer Assistance Program Purchase Loan Application and submits with required documents to Housing Trust within 10 days.

For more information, contact the Homeownership Programs at homebuyer@housingtrustsv.org or (408) 436-3450 ext. 301



Click on the Program Name in the chart below for more information

Homebuyer Empowerment Loan Program (HELP) Empower Homebuyers SCC
Max. Loan Amount Up to 10% of the purchase price Up to 17% of the purchase price
Interest Rate Share of Appreciation Share of Appreciation
Term/ Maturity Date 30 years 30 years
Monthly Payments(Principal & Interest) Deferred Deferred
Program Market Area Santa Clara County San Mateo County (cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park only) Santa Clara County
First-Time Homebuyer Status Required Yes Yes
8-Hour Homebuyer Education Class Required Yes Yes
Maximum Gross Household Income Limit Up to 140% of Area Median Income Up to 120% of Area Median Income
Minimum Credit Score 680 680
Asset Limits $125,000 $125,000
HTSV Pre-Approval Required Yes Yes
Maximum Purchase Price of Home $800,000 $800,000
Owner Occupancy Required Yes- Annual Monitoring/Compliance Check Yes- Annual Monitoring/Compliance Check
First Mortgage Requirement 30 Year Fully Amortized Fixed Rate Mortgage Only- No Adjustable Rate or Interest Only Mortgages Allowed 30 Year Fully Amortized Fixed Rate Mortgage Only- No Adjustable Rate or Interest Only Mortgages Allowed
Minimum/Maximum Loan to Value (LTV) 70% / 87% 70% / 80%
Combined Loan to Value (CLTV) Cannot exceed 97% Cannot exceed 97%

Non-Discrimination Policy

Housing Trust Silicon Valley does not discriminate against any persons on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, source of income, genetic information, medical condition, physical disability or mental disability, or any other category protected by law.