WHITE PLAINS, NY – December 30, 2015 –Long-time Westchester resident Lanice Byfield is the proud new owner of her first home, a bright townhouse in Peekskill in a complex with amenities including a heated pool and a playground. Thanks to the Homebuyers Program offered by the nonprofit Community Housing Innovations (CHI), Ms. Byfield and her toddler have a place to call home. Working and saving for many years, she sees it as a gift for her son, who has a medical condition that requires numerous trips to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment.

“With all of the challenges we face with my son’s illness,” said Ms. Byfield, “my goal was to have a stable home for him. CHI was an essential guide through the whole process. I have been sharing my new home-buying knowledge with everyone! Even if you think you are not ready to buy right now, go to the orientation class to learn the steps you need to prepare,”

In 1997, CHI created its Renters into Owners program, which administers New York State grants averaging $25,000 for down-payment assistance and home improvements to income-eligible first-time homebuyers. Through this program, CHI has made the dream of homeownership a reality for more than 600 families and has distributed over $13 million in grants. CHI also provides homebuyer education and counseling, required for the grants.

The income limits change annually and in 2015 it was $94,707 for a family of four in Westchester.

“Last year, CHI provided more than $1 million in grants from the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation to 40 first-time homebuyers in Westchester and Long Island,” said CHI Executive Director Alexander Roberts. Right now, we have $530,000 ready to give to those who qualify for 2016 and we encourage families to apply for this funding.”

According to Julie Stern, CHI Senior Manager of Homeownership, “Although home prices are rising, we are still able to find good properties to meet the needs of our homebuyers.”

Homebuyer Orientation Sessions start again on January 7th in White Plains, and January 21st in Suffolk County. First-Time Homebuyer classes are also available. Those interested in obtaining a grant and education may register and find out more at www.chigrants.org.

Founded in 1991, CHI is a nonprofit affordable housing and social services agency serving Westchester, the Hudson Valley and Long Island. Community Housing Innovations, Inc. provides the housing and human services to enable low- and moderate-income families and individuals to achieve the greatest social and economic independence at the lowest cost to society. For more information on CHI, visit www.chigrants.org