SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Hopeful first-time home buyers in San Jose lined up Wednesday for a chance to find out more about special loans that could help them with a down payment.

The money comes from a housing bond in Santa Clara County.

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“I’ve consistently been saving but it’s just not possible with the high cost of houses and housing,” said Lynda Haliburton, an administrator for an on-campus clinic at San Jose State University.

She was one of about 150 people who attended an informational seminar on the new program at the university Student Union.

“We’ll fund up to 17 percent of that down payment,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

Last year, a San Jose State English professor admitted to living out of her car because of the high cost of living. Even for a relatively modest home of $700,000, a buyer would need to put down  $140,000 in cash to get a mortgage.

Under this program a buyer would need only $21,000.

“So a family could have three percent, get our 17 percent and then get the 20 percent they need because they have the income level that would qualify them for a house,” Chavez said.

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The money comes from a Measure A affordable housing bond approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2016.
$25 million dollars is available through the Office of Supportive Housing and the Housing Trust to help buyers in the form of zero interest loans.

The money will have to be paid back and the county would also get a share of the appreciation if the buyer sells.

Michael Bowling works two jobs at San Jose State and at Stanford, but still can’t afford a home.

County housing officials are focusing on helping people like Bowling: teachers, university faculty, school staff and other working families who make between $80,000 and 120,000 a year.

“The idea of home ownership is huge for me because I just want to be able to plant myself here,” Bowling said.

For Haliburton, a seemingly impossible dream may now be a little more attainable.

“I’m interested in staying in this valley and comfortably work in close proximity to where I live,” said Haliburton.

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More information on the program can be found on the Santa Clara County housing website.