BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – Hurricane Michael victims who need housing assistance may soon have an easier time finding a home.
Bay County commissioners will consider a proposal Tuesday, Dec. 21, that splits Rehouse Bay into two programs. One for Panama City residents and the other for the remaining Bay County jurisdiction.
Program administrators hope this split will help speed up the application process. Former or current Bay County residents who need help with rebuilding, mortgage, and eviction assistance could have a new place to turn in Bay County.
“This program is very similar to what was happening in Panama City,” said Housing Program Manager Tammy Harris. “The county has received its own distribution of funds from the state.”
Harris, who will oversee spending, said this will streamline services for residents.
“A new website and a new purchase assistance program,” said Harris. “We are offering $50,000 for first-time homebuyers, down payment, and closing cost assistance.”
Applicants who receive the state funds to buy homes, will not have to repay the money if they stay in the house for 15 years. But if they move out before then, they will owe some of the money, depending on what they received.
“What our program is going to help do is to bring these homes that were destroyed during Hurricane Michael, bring them back up to code, make them decent and safe and we are going to get first-time homebuyers in these homes,” said Harris.
Although Bay County has not launched its own website just yet, it will go up on Jan 3rd. For now, you can still go on the ReHouse Bay website so you can come to the Bay County Government Center.
Several people have already applied for money from the new program already.
“It’s exciting to see how many people are looking for assistance,” she said.
The County Commissioner will consider this new program during Tuesday’s commission meeting. If they pass the affordable housing plan, the next step is creating a committee to oversee the application process.