YNHH loan program celebrates five years

In addition to providing health careforits patients, Yale-New Haven Hospital celebrated five years of supplyingits employees with loans towards buying homes.

The hospital celebrated the fifthanniversary of its Home Ownership Made Easier (HOME) program Thursday afternoon with a ceremony including theprogram’s organizers and 73 families who have benefitted from HOME. The program, which provides eligible employees with up to $10,000 in forgivable five-year loans to buy a home in New Haven, is designed to motivate employees to stay at Yale-New Haven and give them an opportunity to buy a home, said Michael Dimenstein, compensation and benefits director of the hospital.

The program provides full-time, first-time home-buyer employees who pass certain financial standards with the loan, which takes the form of a second or third mortgage with the Hospital. If the employees continue to work at the hospital and still live in their new homes after five years, Yale-New Haven fully forgives the loan.The hospital plans to continue the program for years to come, Dimenstein said.

Those who have received loans from the program said HOME both motivated them to buy homes and made it possible for them to do so.

John Haddock, a father of five, said he was able to obtain a family house through the $7,500 loan he received though HOME.

“I went out three years trying to buy a home, but [I was unsuccessful],” Haddock said. “After qualifying for the program, we got our house in less than a year. It’s been great for my family. We went back to the house and danced.”

Haddock said he was required to go to financial counseling after receiving approval for the loan. The counseling guided him through various steps in the house-hunting process, from looking for a hometo fixing his credit problems.

Because single women make up 65 percent of the hospital’s workers, the program is especially focused on them, Dimenstein said.Social worker Lenore Hammers, the first employee to participate in HOME, fits into this category. She said she acquired a single-room condo through the $5,000 loan, which has now been fully forgiven by the hospital. Although she said the program requires filling out many forms, she added that the application process was very efficient and she closed on her new home less than a year after she applied.

James Lucas, who applied to HOME in 2011, said the program helped him become independentof his parents.

“I decided to move out of my parents’ basement,” he said.“Before you know it, I don’t have to worry about my mom telling me to wash the dishes.”

In a citation from the Board of Aldermen, Ward 4 Alderwoman Andrea Jackson-Brooks offered her congratulations to the employees and the hospital for celebrating homeownership program. She also applauded the program for helping New Haven continue to be a “vibrant city.”

Y-NHH partners with First Niagara Bank to sponsor the program.

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