There is created the Florida Homeownership Assistance Program for the purpose of assisting low-income and moderate-income persons in purchasing a home as their primary residence by reducing the cost of the home with below-market construction financing, by reducing the amount of down payment and closing costs paid by the borrower to a maximum of 5 percent of the purchase price, or by reducing the monthly payment to an affordable amount for the purchaser. Loans shall be made available at an interest rate that does not exceed 3 percent. The balance of any loan is due at closing if the property is sold, refinanced, rented, or transferred, unless otherwise approved by the corporation. (1) For loans made available pursuant to s. 420.507(23)(a)1. or 2.:
(a) The corporation may underwrite and make those mortgage loans through the program to persons or families who have incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the state or local median income, whichever is greater, adjusted for family size.
(b) Loans shall be made available for the term of the first mortgage.
(c) Loans may not exceed the lesser of 35 percent of the purchase price of the home or the amount necessary to enable the purchaser to meet credit underwriting criteria.
(2) For loans made pursuant to s. 420.507(23)(a)3.:
(a) Availability is limited to nonprofit sponsors or developers who are selected for program participation pursuant to this subsection.
(b) Preference must be given to community-based organizations as defined in s. 420.503.
(c) Priority must be given to projects that have received state assistance in funding project predevelopment costs.
(d) The benefits of making such loans shall be contractually provided to the persons or families purchasing homes financed under this subsection.
(e) At least 30 percent of the units in a project financed pursuant to this subsection must be sold to persons or families who have incomes that do not exceed 80 percent of the state or local median income, whichever amount is greater, adjusted for family size; and at least another 30 percent of the units in a project financed pursuant to this subsection must be sold to persons or families who have incomes that do not exceed 65 percent of the state or local median income, whichever amount is greater, adjusted for family size.
(f) The maximum loan amount may not exceed 33 percent of the total project cost.
(g) A person who purchases a home in a project financed under this subsection is eligible for a loan authorized by s. 420.507(23)(a)1. or 2. in an aggregate amount not exceeding the construction loan made pursuant to this subsection. The home purchaser must meet all the requirements for loan recipients established pursuant to the applicable loan program. (h) The corporation shall provide, by rule, for the establishment of a review committee composed of corporation staff and shall establish, by rule, a scoring system for evaluating and ranking applications submitted for construction loans under this subsection, including, but not limited to, the following criteria:
1. The affordability of the housing proposed to be built.
2. The direct benefits of the assistance to the persons who will reside in the proposed housing.
3. The demonstrated capacity of the applicant to carry out the proposal, including the experience of the development team.
4. The economic feasibility of the proposal.
5. The extent to which the applicant demonstrates potential cost savings by combining the benefits of different governmental programs and private initiatives, including the local government contributions and local government comprehensive planning and activities that promote affordable housing.
6. The use of the least amount of program loan funds compared to overall project cost.
7. The provision of homeownership counseling.
8. The applicant’s agreement to exceed the requirements of paragraph (e).
9. The commitment of first mortgage financing for the balance of the construction loan and for the permanent loans to the purchasers of the housing.
10. The applicant’s ability to proceed with construction.
11. The targeting objectives of the corporation which will ensure an equitable distribution of loans between rural and urban areas.
12. The extent to which the proposal will further the purposes of this program.
(i) The corporation may reject any and all applications.
(j) The review committee established by corporation rule pursuant to this subsection shall make recommendations to the corporation board regarding program participation under this subsection. The corporation board shall make the final ranking for participation based on the scores received in the ranking, further review of the applications, and the recommendations of the review committee. The corporation board shall approve or reject applicants for loans and shall determine the tentative loan amount available to each program participant. The final loan amount shall be determined pursuant to rule adopted under s. 420.507(23)(h).
(3) The corporation shall publish a notice of fund availability in a publication of general circulation throughout the state at least 60 days prior to the anticipated availability of funds.
(4) There is authorized to be established by the corporation with a qualified public depository meeting the requirements of chapter 280 the Florida Homeownership Assistance Fund to be administered by the corporation according to the provisions of this program. Any amounts held in the Florida Homeownership Assistance Trust Fund for such purposes as of January 1, 1998, must be transferred to the corporation for deposit in the Florida Homeownership Assistance Fund, whereupon the Florida Homeownership Assistance Trust Fund must be closed. There shall be deposited in the fund moneys from the State Housing Trust Fund created by s. 420.0005, or moneys received from any other source, for the purpose of this program and all proceeds derived from the use of such moneys. In addition, all unencumbered funds, loan repayments, proceeds from the sale of any property, and any other proceeds that would otherwise accrue pursuant to the activities of the programs described in this section shall be transferred to this fund. In addition, all loan repayments, proceeds from the sale of any property, and any other proceeds that would otherwise accrue pursuant to the activities conducted under the provisions of the Florida Homeownership Assistance Program shall be deposited in the fund and shall not revert to the General Revenue Fund. Expenditures from the Florida Homeownership Assistance Fund shall not be required to be included in the corporation’s budget request or be subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
(5) No more than one-fifth of the funds available in the Florida Homeownership Assistance Fund may be made available to provide loan loss insurance reserve funds to facilitate homeownership for eligible persons.