WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee handed a West Warwick family the keys to their new home Wednesday, marking the 100th closing made possible by a statewide program aimed at assisting first-time homebuyers.

The Cruz family recently received $17,500 from the program, which launched earlier this year to help first-time homebuyers break into the state’s competitive housing market. The money was used to cover the down payment and closing costs.

“Congratulations to the Cruz family,” McKee said. “This is what it’s all about – helping Rhode Islanders achieve their dream of homeownership.”

Juan Cruz, who works two jobs to support his wife and children, said he’s eternally grateful to the state for helping his family “achieve the American dream.”

(Courtesy: Gov. Dan McKee’s Office)

“I went from coming to the country and sleeping on the floor to now owning my own house,” he said. “I’m very happy and very proud.”

In January and February alone, the statewide program provided 41 first-time homebuyers with more than $717,500. The program is being federally funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment when you own a piece of earth and a structure and can raise your family in a marvelous way,” Rhode Island Housing Secretary Stefan Pryor said.

RIHousing is in charge of reviewing applications and administering the grants.

Here are the program’s eligibility requirements for first-time homebuyers:

  • Homebuyer’s credit score must be 660 or higher
  • Household income must be lower than $112,555 (1-2 person household) or $129,438 (3 or more person household)
  • Maximum purchase price must be less than $546,752
  • Homebuyer must complete the education course offered by RIHousing
  • Homebuyer must obtain a RIHousing-funded first mortgage through a participating lender or the RIHousing Loan Center
  • Homebuyer must list the home as their primary residence

The program is poised to provide grants to hundreds more eligible homeowners, according to the state.

Interested first-time homebuyers with questions can contact RIHousing directly by calling (401) 450-1391.

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