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AHFA Celebrates 20 Years of Step Up Homeownership Program

September 08, 2020

AHFA is celebrating 20 years of its Step Up program, AHFA’s flagship homeownership program. Step Up began on September 8, 2000, and made Alabama the first state to provide this type of financing and down payment assistance to moderate-income homebuyers. 

Since then, Step Up has helped more than 18,500 families across the state. AHFA Executive Director Robert Strickland said, “The Step Up program eliminates one of the largest obstacles to buying a home. We are honored to do our part to help Alabamians realize the dream of homeownership.” 

AHFA regularly interviews homeowners who have used our programs to help buy a home. They are featured in our “Success Stories” highlighting their home buying journey. Many of them thought they would never be able to buy a home because they could not save enough for a 20% down payment. But many are now paying less on a mortgage than they previously did on rent. Others were able to buy a home so they could expand their families or feel the personal pride that comes with homeownership. They were all able to become homeowners and realize these dreams thanks to the down payment assistance provided by Step Up.

Strickland said, “We continue to be appreciative of our many participating lenders who offer Step Up, as well as the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama, Home Builders Association of Alabama, Alabama Association of Realtors, Alabama Center for Real Estate, and Alabama Bankers Association for helping us promote Step Up to their members.”

Step Up was designed specifically for moderate-income homebuyers who can afford a mortgage but need help with the down payment. It is available to homebuyers who earn less than $97,300 and meet standards for creditworthiness. The program offers a competitive 30-year fixed interest rate, with down payment funds secured by a 10-year second mortgage. Homebuyers must apply for Step Up through a participating lender and complete a homebuyer education course to qualify. 

For more information about Step Up, visit