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 Home Ownership Assistance
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SHIP Home Purchase Program

Lake County offers assistance to help extremely low, very low, low and moderate income households purchase homes. The program is funded through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP). The funds can be used for down payments, closing costs for new homes, or for existing homes that have been or will be repaired within twelve months of transfer of title. The maximum purchase price for new and existing homes is $180,000. Up to $5,000 of the assistance can be used for repairs to existing homes. The amount of SHIP assistance available varies by income category.

Income Category
  Extremely Low Income
30% or Less of AMI
Very Low Income
50% or Less of AMI
Low Income
80% or Less of AMI
Moderate Income
120% or Less of AMI
Maximum Assistance Available n/a $40,000 $30,000 $20,000
AMI = Area Median Income

The assistance is in the form of a deferred second mortgage which is forgiven after 15 years. No payments are due if the borrower lives in the home for the term of the mortgage; however a lien held by the County is placed on the home during the mortgage period. If, before the 15 years have elapsed, the home is sold, ceases to be the principal residence of the borrower, the borrower refinances with cash out or uses the home as collateral for a home equity line of credit, the loan must be repaid in its entirety within 30 days of closing. The loan does not need to be repaid if the refinancing was to obtain a lower fixed interest rate, or to create additional living space due to an increase in family size.

Households wishing to participate in the Home Purchase program must be creditworthy, able to obtain a thirty year fixed rate first mortgage from an approved lender that meets the Lake County Lenders’ Guidelines, cannot currently own another home, and must have incomes that do not exceed the following guidelines based upon household size.

Household Size
Number of Persons
Extremely Low Income
30% or less of AMI
Very Low Income
50% or less of AMI
Low Income
80% or less of AMI
Moderate Income
120% or less of AMI








































* AMI = Area Median Income
* Effective 04/29/2019
* Subject to periodic updating per U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines

The first step in the process is pre-screening for mortgage readiness by calling the Consumer Debt Counselors (CDC) at 352-434-0411.

After being placed on the wait list and given a referral, CDC staff will then schedule an appointment with you to meet with a homebuyer counselor. There is no charge. You will be asked to complete a budget worksheet prior to the appointment. The counselor will pull your credit report, and discuss it with you along with the budget worksheet and other general information about purchasing a home. He/she will determine if you are mortgage ready and what size house payment you can afford. If you are mortgage ready, the counselor will provide you with a lender’s listing of organizations that generally participate in the SHIP Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program. It is strongly recommended that you DO NOT sign a purchase contract for a home until you are scheduled to meet with Housing staff.

When your application is complete, the application and the backup documentation will be sent to the Housing & Community Development Division, which does a final review of the application for completeness. It can take up to thirty (30) days for the Lake County Housing Services office to process your application for Down Payment Assistance. The Lake County Housing Services staff will schedule an appointment for you to sign your Resident Income Certification form. You will then be asked to attend a Homebuyer Class and a Home Maintenance Class, conducted by CDC staff. The classes are given at multiple times during the year at various locations around the County. You will be given the schedule at the appointment with Housing staff. There is no cost for the classes. Everyone whose name will be on the mortgage must complete the classes.

Once you have completed the classes, the Housing Services offices will provide you with an Encumbrance Letter to sign, which sets aside funds for you to assist with down payment closing costs. The award is contingent upon your proposed first mortgage meeting the Lake County Lender's Guidelines. You will have up to 120 days to find an affordable home, provide the Housing Services staff with a copy of the purchase contract and close on the home. Extensions can be granted for good cause. If the proposed first mortgage meets the Lenders Guidelines, the funds set aside for you will be paid on your behalf at the time of closing to cover lender’s fees, closing costs and the down payment.

For more information about the Home Purchase program, call 352-742-6530.


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