Anne Arundel County expands mortgage assistance program for first-time homebuyers

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An Anne Arundel County program that offers financial assistance for first-time homebuyers has changed its eligibility standards so that more people can participate.

First-time homebuyers in the county making $78,250 annually or less, or three-person households earning $100,625 or less, are now eligible for zero interest loans to put toward their down payments or closing costs. Before the expansion, residents needed to earn $62,600 or less to qualify for assistance, while three-person homes needed to earn $71,550 or less.


Additionally, recipients were only able to access up to $40,000 in loans; the expansion raised that cap to $50,000, said Erin Karpewicz, CEO of Arundel Community Development Services, a quasi-government nonprofit that works to address issues of housing insecurity and runs the mortgage assistance program.

“This helps them earn equity,” Karpewicz said, explaining why the program is targeted toward first-time homebuyers. “Typically that’s the group that historically doesn’t have equity already that they can then turn around and invest into a down payment. That’s especially true for our marginalized communities.”


The expansion of the program was funded in the fiscal 2023 county budget through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, a one-time installment of $10 million. Of that appropriation, $1 million went toward homeownership programs like this one. Most of the rest will go toward rental housing production, Karpewicz said.

Participants don’t need to pay back the loan until they sell the house, Karpewicz added. When it’s paid back, Arundel Community Development Services reinvests the proceeds into their programs.

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The new financial qualifications were based on a 2022 report about housing costs and income limitations in the Baltimore area published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Both low- and moderate-income residents are currently struggling to purchase homes because incomes are not keeping pace with skyrocketing housing costs, Karpewicz said.

“Our residents and businesses are feeling the impacts of the housing crisis,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman in a statement. “Creating programs like this and funding them through our housing trust fund is how we are providing solutions for our essential workers — our teachers, our bus drivers, our health care workers — and the businesses that employ them.”

Local businesses find it more difficult to succeed if their workers cannot find affordable housing in the area, Karpewicz said.

Expanding homebuyer aid is an important step in addressing the county’s affordable housing shortage, said Asha Smith, Anne Arundel County human relations and equal opportunity officer, whose work focuses heavily on enforcing fair housing laws.

“Fair housing is about choices and providing resources like this,” Smith said in a statement. “Marketing them to historically marginalized communities will help us expand choice.”


Interested residents must first complete Arundel Community Development Services’ free homeownership counseling program, which includes online workshops and credit and budgeting counseling. Residents then will be prompted to download the application for the mortgage assistance program.