Funds for home buyer grants are primarily available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are several different programs administered by HUD that provide grants to home buyers. Although these programs are generally geared toward low-income and first-time buyers, other factors are considered in making grants, such as being divorced. Locating grants that are available for divorced people requires being familiar with the agencies and organizations that administer government grants.
Part of HUD's mission is to increase home ownership. However, HUD does not directly make grants to individuals, but instead administers its programs through local governments and non-profit organizations, who in turn, distribute the funds to residents. A few basic points that apply to all HUD programs are: (1) no grants are available that cover 100 percent of the cost of a home; and (2) grants are only available for use toward the cost of a mortgage, which requires grant recipients to qualify for a mortgage.
The most readily available grant programs that apply to divorced people are those that provide assistance to first-time home buyers. In order to qualify as a first-time home buyer for purposes of receiving a HUD grant, an applicant must be a member of one of several categories, one of which is called "displaced homemaker." If you were recently divorced and you were not the primary wage earner in your previous household, you will be considered a displaced homemaker and, therefore, qualify for grants available to first-time home buyers.
American Dream Downpayment Initiative
Enacted in 2003, the American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) has been providing grant funds to all states to give qualifying first-time home buyers assistance in purchasing a single-family home. ADDI's primary purpose is to provide grant funds to pay for down payment and closing costs. Any home buyer who can qualify as a first-time buyer can apply for these grants.
Grants from Local Government and Non-profit Organizations
In addition to HUD programs, there may be programs available through state and local governments or through non-profit organizations that are designed to assist home buyers with grants. These grants will be specifically available to facilitate home ownership in local communities and invariably help first-time buyers, displaced homemakers or even single parents after a divorce. The HUD website has links to information for all 50 states regarding grant programs available through local agencies and organizations.
Other Grant Resources
Although grant programs available to home buyers are primarily offered through HUD, there are grants available from other government agencies that may be available to assist home buyers, including divorced people. The best source for locating such programs is through Grants.gov and GovBenefits.gov. All grant program can be located through these sites. Online services are also available through these sites to help you determine whether you qualify for a particular grant and to assist you in submitting an application for a grant.