City of San Diego officials announced a new program Wednesday to help San Diego police officers afford housing down-payments within city limits.
The San Diego Police Officer Home Buyer Down-Payment Assistance Program will provide down-payment assistance to eligible San Diego law enforcement officers in the form of five-year, zero-interest loans of up to $50,000.
The San Diego Police Department has struggled with their recruitment and retainment of officers in recent years, and they believe the city’s lack of affordable housing to be a contributing factor.
“We want to be, and continue to be, one of the safest big cities in the country,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “To continue this success, we need to recruit the best and the brightest men and women. The bottom line is, we need to have a competitive advantage in order to draw the best and the brightest to San Diego."
"This program is a very important new tool in our toolbox, making it possible to own your own home in the same community that you serve and protect,” he added.
Less than 30% of the city’s law enforcement officers actually live within city limits, according to estimates from the San Diego Police Officers Association.
“Public safety is our number one priority,'' City Councilman Chris Cate said. “Assisting our San Diego Police Officers with purchasing a home in the city of San Diego helps them establish roots in the communities they serve, and provides them with an additional incentive to join and stay with the SDPD.”
This new program is a public-private partnership with the National Asian American Coalition (NAAC) and two banks: Mechanics Bank and Pacific Western Bank.
The banks will contribute an initial combined amount of $500,000, and the city will contribute $250,000, as allocated in the city’s 2020 fiscal year budget. All funds will be used solely to provide down-payment assistance, according to the city.
Loan recipients must remain a police officer for the duration of the loan’s term and must repay the loan by the end of its term, according to city officials.
The NAAC will manage and administer the program, according to the city.
The NAAC is a HUD-Approved 501(c)3 nonprofit housing organization and certified Community Development Financial Institution. It provides comprehensive counseling and prepares clients for mortgages in diverse communities throughout California.
“This program is going to make a real difference for our San Diego Police Officers," said Mayor Faulconer. "It sends a powerful message, backed up with dollars, that we value our community policing."
For more information on program eligibility, visit this website.