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State Housing Authority Makes Record Award to City of Columbia - 8/26/1998

The Board of Commissioners of the State Housing Authority approved a request for $1.5 million from its Community Homeownership Opportunity Partnership (CHOP) Program to provide permanent financing for scattered site homes in Columbia. The award was made to the Housing Division of the City of Columbia's Community Development Department, whose track record with CHOP funding has been very successful. Although Columbia has been the recipient of nearly $3 million in previous CHOP funds, the $1.5 million endowment is the largest single award (to any city) since the program's inception in 1985.

The Authority's CHOP Program assists local communities with providing homeownership opportunities to lower income residents by entering into a "partnership" with a city, county, or a municipal nonprofit organization. CHOP provides funds for below market interest rate mortgage financing in return for the municipality's contribution to the program. Municipal contributions may be in the form of land donations, infrastructure financing, and even support services such as homebuyer classes and credit counseling.

The State Housing Authority is able to make awards through its CHOP Program by using recycled funds earnings derived from loan prepayments and mortgage interest. It's the way the agency likes to use its money, said Gene Spivey, chairman of the Authority's Board of Commissioners.

"We have a responsibility to the economic well-being of this state," Spivey said. "What better way to show our commitment than by reinvesting our earnings into something that stimulates the economy? By recycling our own profits right back into affordable housing opportunities for South Carolinians, we're making a substantial contribution." Spivey also said that the CHOP Program is a good example of how a state agency is working to help local governments. "All we need are good, workable proposals from motivated communities to make the CHOP Program work." Columbia is just such a motivated community. "The City has had a great track record with this program, ever since St. Anna's Court," Spivey said, referring to Columbia's first CHOP project.

Now prospective homebuyers will benefit in various locations of the city. Four and six percent interest mortgage loans will be originated by Carolina First under CHOP financing. Eligible homebuyers must meet strict income requirements and home purchase prices will not exceed $76,000, consistent with all State Housing mortgage programs.

For information on Columbia's new mortgage program, call the Community Development Department's Housing Division, 733-8459. For more information on CHOP or other State Housing Authority mortgage loan programs, call (803)734-2069. Persons with speech or hearing impairments may use the Authority's TTY line, (803)734-2369.

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority is a financially self-sufficient agency of state government.