CITY OF JOPLIN HOMEBUYER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (J-HAP) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)
1. What is the Joplin Homebuyer Assistance Program (J-HAP)? The City of Joplin’s primary objective is to allocate a portion of its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grant funds for homeownership programs to repopulate the tornado – affected area, increase the number of affordable housing units and to improve the opportunities for homeownership for low and moderate income (LMI) families. In coordination with the City of Joplin, Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area (ESC) will be conducting all application processing. The total amount of homebuyer assistance cannot be less than $1,000 or greater than $30,000 for homebuyers. The subsidy may be used to fund:
- 100% of the primary lender required down payment costs, and/or
- 100% of the reasonable closing costs.
2. How do I qualify for J-HAP assistance to purchase a home? To qualify for assistance, you must adhere to the following eligibility requirements:
- Your household annual income must not exceed 120% of the median income for the City of Joplin. Refer to the table below for examples of maximum income guidelines by household size.
- You must have the financial ability to secure a first mortgage with a financial institution or mortgage company. J-HAP funds provided by the City of Joplin can be used for down payment assistance and/or closing costs.
- Applicants must complete all necessary forms required by HUD and the City of Joplin (forms to be provided by ESC) prior to proceeding through the J-HAP application and eligibility verification process.
3. What is the maximum amount of assistance that I can request from the J-HAP? How do I know how much J-HAP can I receive? The maximum Forgivable Loan amount will be $30,000. The amount of the Forgivable Loan awarded will be based on lender requirements.
4. Who calculates and approves the amount of J-HAP assistance that I can receive?Your mortgage lender will be able to calculate how much J-HAP assistance you will be eligible for, subject to the loan product that best fits your situation. Yet, your J-HAP request must then be approved by the City before it can be disbursed at the closing of the real estate contract.
5. Can J-HAP be combined with other housing loan programs? You will need to consult your mortgage lender to evaluate potential home loan products to determine what options are available and what best suits your specific situation.
6. Does J-HAP prevent me from refinancing my home in the future? No, you can refinance in the future, provided that: 1) there is no change in property ownership, 2) the new loan must only pay off the remaining balance of the original loan, and 3) subject to Lender approval.
7. When and where are the J-HAP applications due? Applicants can pick-up a J-HAP Application Packet in-person at the ESC office located at 302 S. Joplin Ave, Joplin, MO or by submitting an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject Line: J-HAP Application Request). Completed J-HAP applications should be returned with all relevant/required documentation to ESC for processing. The J-HAP application and all necessary documents (including additional information, if requested) must be returned to ESC within 30 calendar days. If an Applicant is unable to provide all required documents to ESC within 30 calendar days, upon securing all necessary information they will need to return to ESC to update their J-HAP application.
8. What paperwork is required to submit with the J-HAP application? A list of required personal information is available via the ‘Personal Information Required For J-HAP Application’ form which can be found under the J-HAP information link at http://www.joplinmo.org/index.aspx?nid=731. Further, the J-HAP Application Package will explain all necessary required documentation, and an ESC counselor will assist you through the application process. If additional documentation is required, the applicant will be notified by ESC in a timely manner.
9. What does my credit score have to be to qualify for the program? J-HAP applicants will need to secure a home loan through a mortgage lender to qualify for this funding assistance, and an applicant’s credit score is one factor used to obtain loan approval. Those interested in participating in the J-HAP should be visiting with their lender of choice as soon as possible to determine their credit score and evaluate their ability to secure a home loan.
10. Is this J-HAP assistance a grant or a loan? The assistance will be in the form of a Forgivable Loan. Further, an affordability covenant (either a Deed of Trust or Deed Restrictions) will be filed against the property receiving J-HAP assistance.
11. What is an affordability covenant? If I receive assistance, will there be an affordability covenant on the property? If so, how long must the affordability period be maintained? Affordability covenants can be used to limit the resale price of a property or tie ownership to established income thresholds to maintain the affordability of the property, for a set period of time. Yes, there will be an affordability covenant on the property if you receive J-HAP assistance. Please refer to the table below for timeframes associated with the subsidy.
Homeownership Assistance Amount Affordability Covenant Period
<$15,000 5 years
$15,000-30,000 10 years
12. Can I buy a house anywhere in City of Joplin? All properties must be contained within the City Limits of Joplin and within the boundaries of the Tornado Path (Disaster Zone) that are generally described as the area between Black Cat Road and Davis Boulevard and between 13th Street/Junge Boulevard and 32nd Street. Please refer to the City of Joplin’s interactive map found at https://joplin.integritygis.com/ or a PDF version with additional environmental information located under the J-HAP information link at http://www.joplinmo.org/index.aspx?nid=731.
13. How will I know if the property I wish to purchase is eligible for J-HAP assistance? After the Applicant’s J-HAP eligibility has been approved by the City, the City will direct ESC to authorize the Environmental Assessment (EA) review and on-site inspection of the property to insure the location complies with federal funding requirements. ESC will notify the Applicant of the EA determination following the review/inspection. The EA Review/Inspection process should normally be completed within fifteen (15) days after it has been initiated, yet certain locations may require a longer time to complete do to unique property factors.
14. Is there a minimum sales price on the home that I select? No, there are no minimum or maximum sales prices on the homes to be purchased through the J-HAP
15. Can I get a home built or do I have to buy an existing house? Assistance will only be made available to existing single-family units or single-family units that are already under construction at this time. Applications for homes that have not yet been constructed will be received, however, approval will not be given until HUD approval is provided to the City (anticipated in early September). The J-HAP will not fund the construction process. J-HAP funds can only be applied to a fully finished home.
16. How long will it take to receive the J-HAP funds? J-HAP funds will be available upon the closing of the real estate contract, subject to satisfaction of lender loan requirements and final City approval of J-HAP funding requirements. Due to City of Joplin finance disbursement requirements, at this time all real estate closing transactions using J-HAP funds will occur on Friday.
17. Are second homes eligible for J-HAP? No. To qualify for a JHAP forgivable loan the home must be your primary residence.
18. I am currently under contract to buy a home in the J-HAP Zone, can I be eligible for the J-HAP Forgivable Loan? If you have not yet closed on your pending real estate contract, you should immediately contact your lender to determine your options.
19. I just closed on my contract to purchase a home in the JHAP Zone, can I still be eligible for the J-HAP Forgivable Loan? Unfortunately, due to federal regulations and processes you will not be eligible to participate in the J-HAP.
20. If I am a realtor, contractor or other professional that would like to know if my properties qualify for the J-HAP, how do I find out? The J-HAP has a goal of providing financial assistance directly to the homebuyer. In order to know if a property is J-HAP eligible, a prospective homebuyer must first apply to the program and a decision will be made regarding the applicant’s eligibility. At this point, an address-specific review will then be conducted on one property per prospective homebuyer applicant. The City has, however, made available a map for general guidance when looking for properties. This map DOES NOT represent a final eligibility determination for the property and is only to be used as a general guide. This map can be found under the J-HAP information link at http://www.joplinmo.org/index.aspx?nid=731.
21. How do I appeal any decisions or determinations during the J-HAP application process that I dispute? J-HAP applicants are encouraged to work with ESC to resolve any questions or potential concerns they might have as they progress through the application steps. Yet, if an applicant believes that an incorrect decision has been made during the application process, they may file a “Request for Informal Hearing” form (obtained from ESC) and return it to City Hall (attn.: Troy Bolander).
22. Where can I obtain more J-HAP information? You should visit the City’s CDBG-DR website under the J-HAP information link at http://www.joplinmo.org/index.aspx?nid=731 for any updates and/or contact ESC to visit with a J-HAP counselor.