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Skagit County has received $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue assisting low-income homebuyers through the Regional Home Ownership Assistance program.

The county works with nonprofits in Island, Skagit, Whatcom and San Juan counties to help fund down payments for low-income homebuyers, county Public Health Department analyst Kayla Schott-Bresler said.

“Affordable homeownership provides people with a path toward stability and security,” Schott-Bresler said.

She said rent is expensive and volatile in northwest Washington, and a mortgage can sometimes be lower than rent.

The $750,000 should last about two years and help about 30 homebuyers, she said.

Homes purchased through the program are long-term investments, Schott-Bresler said. Homes remain affordable and in the program for up to 99 years. During that time, they can only be sold to another buyer in the program.

“There’s a long-term affordability component attached to this program,” she said.

The program was created in 2016 through the county Public Health Department’s “Building a Skagit Housing Affordability Strategy.”

Prospective homebuyers can access the program through the following agencies: Skagit Habitat for Humanity, Home Trust of Skagit County, Parkview Services, Habitat for Humanity of Island County, Kulshan Community Land Trust and Opal Community Land Trust.

— Reporter Julia-Grace Sanders: 360-416-2145, jsanders@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @JuliaGrace_SVH

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