Florida announces $10M housing loan program to aid Panhandle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $10 million housing loan program that could benefit hundreds of home buyers in the Florida Panhandle, which was devastated two years ago by Hurricane Michael.

DeSantis traveled to Panama City Monday to make the announcement.

The governor’s office called the new funding a relaunch of the Hurricane Michael Recovery Loan Program, which last year provided $5 million in down payment assistance to 335 home buyers across the most hard-hit counties of the region.

A powerful Category 5 storm, Hurricane Michael destroyed hundreds of homes when it plowed through Florida’s Gulf Coast in the fall of 2018.

“These storms come and then they go,” the governor said, “but the damage that they leave behind takes time to rebuild.”

The program will resume in Sept. 1 and will provide 30-year fixed rate mortgages to more than 600 qualified home buyers. It will include $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. The no-interest down payment loans will be forgivable over five years.

The new allocation of money was part of the state budget the governor signed in June.