The Topeka chapter of Housing and Credit Counseling announced last week the statewide launch of its successful Take the Opportunity To Own program.

“We’re so excited for this,” said Chris Burk with HCCI. “The Federal Home Loan Bank has been a great partner with us. For Topeka, we’ve been doing this since 1992. Now, we’re doing this statewide. There’s $3,350 available for a future homeowner to use for downpayment or closing cost assistance.”

A family of four earning up to $61,364 annually is eligible to apply for this TOTO Statewide down payment assistance.

“That is the biggest stumbling block is the downpayment,” said Burk. “If you’re looking at $3000 or $4000 needed for a down payment, it’s hard sometimes when you’re renting and paying a high amount for a monthly rent. This is going to help a lot of folks get into homes that never thought they could before.”

Those receiving the grant must complete a free financial counsel with Housing and Credit Counseling that takes about 1.5 hours. Counseling with HCCI helps people establish a budget and plan for meeting the expected and sometimes unexpected costs of home ownership.

“We don’t want to take a really great renter and make them a poor homeowner,” said Burk. “They’ve got to make sure that they’re saving money for those repairs, because it’s going to happen. It’s a matter of whether they can try some of this themselves, or just be aware of just maintaining this investment of theirs, so they can move on to bigger and better things down the road.”

Recipients must also complete HCCI’s free Home Buyer Workshop, or complete an approved free Home Buyer course on HCCI’s website at www.hcci-ks.org. For details or to apply contact HCCI at 1-800-383-0217.