The Down Payment Assistance Program and Rate Buy-Down Program will now be available to enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) living in the surrounding counties. The EBCI Housing Division has offered the Down Payment Assistance Program and the Rate Buy-Down Program to enrolled members living on the Qualla Boundary for several years. Unfortunately, available land on the Qualla Boundary is limited and often difficult to get to and build on. The expansion of these services provides housing assistance to a greater cross-section of enrolled members, easing the demand for housing by community members.
The Down Payment Assistance Program allows enrolled members to finance 20 percent, up to $30,000, of their mortgage with the EBCI. This loan is held until the mortgage is fully paid or the individual refinances their home, at which point the loan must be incorporated into the refinanced mortgage. The Rate Buy-Down Program is available to any individual and does not need to be paid back. This program pays up to $2,500 to the enrolled member’s mortgage lender to buy-down their interest rate. This normally results in half a point reduction in the interest rate, saving the enrolled member around $100-$200 per month on a 30-year mortgage.
Shelby Parker, EBCI tribal member, is the first to go through the program for a home not located on the Qualla Boundary. “I appreciate all the help I received from the Housing Division while working through financing my new home,” she said. “The down payment assistance and rate buy-down helped lower my monthly payment making it easier to get in the home of my dreams and still provide for my growing family. The process was easy, and the housing staff were there to help every step of the way. With housing being in such high demand, it’s a great opportunity for enrolled members to take advantage of.”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed said, “The expansion of this program to those living off the Qualla Boundary is a huge step in relieving the housing demand felt by our community. I would like to extend my appreciation to Tina Larch, Michelle Stamper, Travis Smith, Ryan Clayton, and Brandon Stephens. These employees planned the expansion of this program, implemented the policies, and worked to make the process smooth and efficient for Shelby Parker.”
– EBCI Public Relations