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Hometown Heroes Loan Program - Learn How to Get up to a $35,000 Grant in Miami-Dade County, Florida

One of the biggest challenges facing Americans is their ability to purchase or finance a good house. Homeownership is a dream for most of us, but a struggling economy, high real estate prices, and scarce financing options have combined to put this dream out of reach for many.

This state of affairs has prompted the establishment of various programs and initiatives aimed at helping American citizens to acquire their own homes conveniently.

On May 23, 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially launched the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program. This initiative aims at helping Florida residents working full-time (must document 35+ hrs. per week) in a business located in Florida afford to place down payments and eventually own permanent properties in the state.

The idea is to encourage such individuals, who the Governor referred to as 'the backbone of Florida communities,' to own their own homes among the people they serve.

While all the counties of Florida have this program in place, individual details vary from one county to another. In this piece, we'll focus on one county in particular - Miami-Dade County.

Let's examine the program in further detail, highlighting who stands to benefit from it, the prerequisite conditions for eligibility, and some salient facts about living in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Establishing the Hometown Heroes Loan Program

This is one of the most generous and inclusive housing loan programs in the state and falls under the Florida Housing and Finance Corporation's administration.

According to the Governor, Florida wanted to find a way to express its gratitude to the people whose work contributes to the well-being of their communities most directly.

Florida Housing was instituted through state legislation 40 years ago to manage federal and state resources directed toward providing affordable housing options for Floridians.

This program will provide its recipients with 5% of their first mortgage loan (no more than $35,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance funding provided as a zero percent, non-amortizing, thirty-year deferred second mortgage.

The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable. This second mortgage becomes due and payable, in full, upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as his/her primary residence.

Who is Eligible for this Program?

To qualify for a loan, applicants will first have to contact a participating loan officer, who will guide them through the process.

They will need to have a healthy credit score (640 is the minimum), meet the income threshold stipulated for their county. They will need to be a full-time employee working at the time of their application.

  • Borrower(s) must be employed full-time by a Florida-based employer and work 35 or more hours per week.

  • The property the borrower(s) is purchasing will be their primary residence and they will be a Florida resident.

  • The borrower(s) are first-time homebuyers which means, a borrower(s) must have had no present ownership Interest in a principal residence at any time during the three-year period prior to the date on which the Mortgage Loan is executed.

Income and Maximum Loan Limits

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program has a few stipulations that applicants must adhere to. For one, applicants must not earn a yearly income over $154,800.

This limit is adjusted for household size and the particular market and economic conditions. For this reason, you will find that these limits vary from one county to another.

You will find that the program also stipulates maximum loan limits, which are pegged to the purchase price limits.

Miami-Dade County, in this case, sets the maximum loan amount for FHA loans at $557,750. For HFA Preferred, VA, and HFA Advantage loans, the maximum amount is $726,200. USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

Florida Tax Exemption Benefits

One of the top benefits of using the Hometown Heroes Program is tax exemption, saving you thousands of dollars.

Under Section 420.513(1) of the Florida Statutes, this program provides an exemption from documentary stamp tax and intangible tax for first and second mortgages and notes used to secure loans for housing financed through Florida Housing's Homebuyer Programs.

This means that when you purchase a home through these programs, you won't have to pay the documentary stamp tax and intangible tax on your mortgage, saving you a substantial amount of money.

The Florida documentary stamp tax is a real estate transfer tax levied at a rate of $0.70 per $100 paid for the property in most counties, except Miami Dade, where it is $0.60 per $100.

With the Hometown Heroes Program, you can exclude this tax when you meet the program's criteria. Additionally, the Florida intangible tax, which is calculated at 2 mills per dollar of the note's just value secured by the mortgage, is also exempted.

For each $100,000 of your home purchase price, this exemption can potentially save you approximately $2,000 in documentary stamp tax and intangible tax.

Living in Miami-Dade County, Florida

The county is one of the most diverse and multi-ethnic counties to be found not only in Florida but anywhere else in the United States. According to the 2020 United States Census, of the 2,701,767 people living here, 68.73 percent were Latino or Hispanic.

Non-Hispanic white residents were 14 percent, African Americans represented 13 percent, and the rest of the population was divided between Pacific Islanders, Asians, Native Americans, and Multi-racial inhabitants.

Approximately 52 percent of the people living here were born outside the country, with about 72 percent of people speaking a language other than English while in their own homes.

Religious Groups

You'll find that the county shows as much diversity in religion as it does in its demographics. The largest religious grouping is Catholic, as the Archdiocese of Miami presides over 600,000 Catholic believers spread out across 65 parishes.

You will also find sizable communities and congregations of SBC Baptists (80,123 congregants), NBC Baptists (47,921), Seventh-day Adventists (27,901), AoG Pentecostals (25,244), LDS Mormons (14,628), TEC Episcopalians (12,569), Muslims (23,064), and more.

Jewish residents are a significant segment of the county's religious demographic, numbering over 121,00, with the majority being the elderly and retired people. Because of their presence, Miami-Dade county boasts the third-largest Jewish population in the state and the tenth-largest in the country.


Compared to some other major cities across the United States, Mami-ade compares traffic congestion and ease of commuting well. The county possesses a public transit system known as Miami-Dade Transit which operates the Metrorail and Metrobus services. They also have inter-city rail services known as Tri-Rail and Brightline.

Miami-Dade County plays host to one of the world's largest transport hubs, Miami International Airport, which serves over 35 million passengers each year. American Airlines, the world's largest passenger airline, has its most important international berth here.

Residents traveling from here have access to non-stop flights to international locations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Aside from this, fliers can also choose Miami Executive Airport, Miami Seaplane Base, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead General Aviation Airport, and Dade-Collier Airport.

Police Department

With its headquarters located in Doral, Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department serves residents living in the county. However, it will often cooperate with the departments of their municipalities, such as the City of Miami Police Department.

It is Florida's largest police department, with over 4,700 employees. Overseen by the director Juan Perez, the department ensures that all residents are adequately served and covered by spreading outposts across nine districts all across the county and two specialized bureaus.

Fire Rescue

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department is responsible for the emergency medical service providers and fire protection services. This department is also responsible for the Oplock Airport, Miami Executive Airport, and Miami International Airport. The agency is tasked with covering 29 municipalities and all unincorporated regions of the county.

In extreme scenarios involving wilderness settings or grievous injuries, they are also home to the Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1 and the EMS, which comprises 640 emergency medical technicians and 760 paramedics, all certified by the state.

Beautiful South Beach in Miami Florida

Miami-Dade County Cultural Scene

There are many things to do, sights to see, and events to attend in Miami-Dade County. As a beach town, it possesses all the typical attractions designed for tourists, but it also offers plenty more besides them.

Art lovers, for example, will enjoy taking trips to highly esteemed museums such as Coral Castle, Bass Museum of Art, Frost Art Museum, Lowe Art Museum, Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Vizcaya Museum, and the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum.

If culture and wildlife are more in line with your interests, you can enjoy a day of family fun by visiting one of the various zoos, waterparks, and performing arts centers dotting the county.

These include the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Bayside Marketplace, Jungle Island, Monkey Jungle, Zoo Miami, Miami Seaquarium, Miami New Drama, Colony Theatre, Ancient Spanish Monastery, and the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, among others.

Florida is well known for its unique natural environment, part of the Everglade ecosystem. You will find a large selection of parks in the county offering a variety of natural scenery and creatures in their natural settings.

Residents have access to popular parks such as Everglades National Park, Oleta River State Park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Tropical Park, Bayfront Park, The Barnacle Historic State Park, Crandon Park, Biscayne National Park, and more.

Miami-Dade is South Florida's sports hub, hosting most stadiums, arenas, and complexes. These facilities include Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Hurricanes), Marlins Park (Baseball), American Airlines Arena (Basketball), FIU Arena (Basketball), Cobb Stadium (Track and Field, Soccer), Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field (Baseball), and many more.

Working in Miami-Dade County, Florida

The economic conditions and employment opportunities available in an area will often be the foremost consideration for people considering a move.

If you're interested in this program, you're probably a current resident of the county or considering a move. There are plenty of job opportunities available in diverse industries and professions in Miami-Dade County.

Whether you're hoping for work in the public or private sector, you will have plenty of options. According to census data, the median income of families in the county is $40,260, with males earning $30,120 on average and women bringing in $24,686.

Some of the most significant public sector employers in Miami-Dade County are Miami-Dade County Public Schools, U.S. Federal Government, Jackson Health System, Florida State Government, and Miami Dade County.

The private sector is vibrant, offering employment in diverse sectors led by companies such as the University of Miami, Baptist Health South Florida, American Airlines, Carnival Cruise Line, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Florida Power&Light, Royal Caribbean International, and the Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Other notable corporations based in Miami-Dade County include Astra Zeneca (Latin American Headquarters), Goya Foods, the Unicomer Group, and Gate Group.

The working climate of Miami-Dade County, while somewhat reliant on tourism and related industries, is a very healthy one. This is a continuously growing county that shows every sign of continued growth in the future.

Learning in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Whether you hope to continue your education or have a family that requires quality learning conditions, you won't have any trouble in Miami-Dade County.

They have quality options from kindergarten level to universities. The Miami-Dade County Public School District is one of the largest in the country, with over 360,000 learners.

It hosts numerous high-performing private and public schools, including Allison Academy School, The Cushman School, Monsignor Edward Pace High School, Riviera Schools, Don Soffer Aventura High School, etc.

One of the most famous higher learning institutions located here is the University of Miami, renowned for its position as one of America's best research universities and the top-ranked private university in Florida.

Another notable institution is the Florida International University, which is ranked fifth in the country regarding enrollment. You will find plenty of information available to the public provided by the Miami-Dade Public Library system, one of the country's largest.

Municipalities in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County comprises 19 cities, 6 towns, and 9 villages. These are all incorporated municipalities, although the county seat resides in Miami.

All these municipalities have the same governance structure, so you will be eligible for the Hometown Heroes program and face the same qualifications and regulations. These municipalities are as follows:

  • Miami Gardens City
  • Aventura City
  • Sunny Isles Beach City
  • North Miami Beach City
  • North Miami City
  • North Bay City
  • Opa-Locka City
  • Hialeah City
  • Hialeah Gardens City
  • Doral City
  • Miami Springs City
  • Sweetwater City
  • Miami City
  • Miami Beach City
  • West Miami City
  • Coral Gables City
  • South Miami City
  • Homestead City
  • Florida City
  • Golden Beah Town
  • Bay Harbor Islands Town
  • Surfside Town
  • Miami Lakes Town
  • Medley Town
  • Cutler Bay Town
  • Bal Harbour Village
  • Indian Creek Village
  • Biscayne Park Village
  • Miami Shores Village
  • El Portal Village
  • Virginia Gardens Village
  • Key Biscayne Village
  • Pinecrest Village
  • Palmetto Bay Village

Final Thoughts

Homeownership is an almost universal dream, but realizing it is a challenge for many in these difficult times. The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program offers a way for eligible community workers playing different roles in our communities to access the funds they need to make the first step toward this goal comfortably.

By providing them with these resources, the program goes a long way in promoting our communities' health, vibrancy, and longevity.

It is a good idea and well worth implementing, not only in Miami-Dade County but across the state of Florida and beyond.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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