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RIHousing Expands “First Down” Program to Further Stabilize RI Communities

Published on November 6, 2017 by Rhode Island Housing
RIHousing Expands “First Down” Program to Further Stabilize RI Communities

More than 280 Rhode Islanders Have Already Used the Program to Buy Homes in Areas Hardest Hit by Foreclosure Crisis

PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of its mission to build vibrant and sustainable communities, RIHousing, joined by Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, today announced the relaunch of its incredibly popular ”First Down” program, which provides $7,500 in down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in one of the Rhode Island communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

To date, more than 280 Rhode Islanders have already taken advantage of the First Down program. With this expansion, RIHousing expects to help an additional 800 families. First Down targets the six Rhode Island communities most affected by the foreclosure crisis: Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Warwick, Cranston and East Providence.

”One of the biggest goals for many Providence families is owning their own home,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. ”It is exciting that over 200 first-time home buyers in the capital city have registered for First Down. Thank you to Rhode Island Housing for helping so many families realize their dreams.”

RIHousing programs have played a pivotal role in revitalizing neighborhoods across the state. As part of a comprehensive process, all communities across the state were evaluated to identify which areas had higher than average indicators of seriously delinquent mortgage loans, negative equity, distressed sales, short sales, foreclosure rates, and vacant homes.

”Already, Warwick has seen terrific results from the First Down program: more than 150 families have registered for this down payment assistance to purchase homes in our city. Those are working families who are putting down roots in our community, and I am thrilled even more that first-time homebuyers in Warwick will be able to take part in RIHousings’ First Down program,” said Mayor Avedisian.

Sustaining neighborhoods, increasing the availability of homes for first-time buyers and providing Rhode Island’s families with much-needed down payment assistance will further stabilize our state’s communities.

”The initial round of our First Down program has been a tremendous success, with more than 280 Rhode Island families already closing on loans with this down payment assistance,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. ”Our state’s real estate market is improving, but that means prices are rising — and Rhode Island is already facing a severe housing shortage. The First Down program has literally made homeownership possible for many families who would otherwise still be sitting on the sidelines. We are thrilled to be able to help even more Rhode Islanders buy homes, which in turn strengthens our communities and grows Rhode Island’s economy.”

The First Down program is funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund program. If the buyer sells, refinances, or transfers the home within five years of closing the loan, a portion of the First Down loan would need to be repaid.

For more information on the First Down program, including eligibility guidelines and a list of participating lenders, contact RIHousing at (401) 457-1157 or visit

RIHousing Expands ”First Down” Program to Further Stabilize RI Communities

About RI Housing
Together with its partners, RIHousing works to ensure that all people who live and work in Rhode Island can afford a healthy, attractive home that meets their needs. RIHousing uses its resources to provide low-interest loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders find, rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, RIHousing is a self-sustaining corporation and receives no state funding for operations.

Media Contacts:
Emily Martineau
(401) 450-1309,

Kevin Tente