Financial Assistance

We help many people, including:

  • Renters with landlord issues

  • First time homebuyers & SHIP down payment assistance program

  • Families worried about losing their home

  • People who receive a notice of intent to foreclose

  • Renters who want to own but can't because of credit issues

We are proud to be a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

Our goal is to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income families in the community. We do this in support of HUD's five strategic goals:


State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)SHIP assistance to help very low, low and moderate income individuals or families purchase homes. The program is funded through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP), and the funds can be used for down payments, closing costs for new homes, or for existing homes that will be  repaired within 12 months of transfer of title.  The sales price of new and existing manufactured homes built after 1994, which can be lower but may not exceed 90% of the median area purchase price established by The U.S. Treasury Department.

Florida Housing administers the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program (SHIP), which provides funds to local governments as an incentive to create partnerships that produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. The program was designed to serve very low, low and moderate income families. SHIP funds are distributed on an entitlement basis to all 67 counties and 52 Community Development Block Grant entitlement cities in Florida. The minimum allocation is $350,000. In order to participate, local governments must establish a local housing assistance program by ordinance; develop a local housing assistance plan and housing incentive strategy; amend land development regulations or establish local policies to implement the incentive strategies; form partnerships and combine resources in order to reduce housing costs; and ensure that rent or mortgage payments within the targeted areas do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income limits, unless authorized by the mortgage lender. SHIP dollars may be used to fund emergency repairs, new construction, rehabilitation, down payment and closing cost assistance, impact fees, construction and gap financing, mortgage buy-downs, acquisition of property for affordable housing, matching dollars for federal housing grants and programs, and homeownership counseling. SHIP funds may be used to assist units that meet the standards of chapter 553.A minimum of 65 percent of the funds must be spent on eligible homeownership activities; a minimum of 75 percent of funds must be spent on eligible construction activities; at least 30 percent of the funds must be reserved for very-low income households (up to 50 percent of the area median income or AMI); an additional 30 percent must be reserved for low income households (up to 80 percent of AMI); and the remaining funds may be reserved for households up to 140 percent of AMI. No more than 10 percent of SHIP funds may be used for administrative expenses. Funding for this program was established by the passage of the 1992 William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act. Funds are allocated to local governments on a population-based formula.

Assistance takes the form of a deferred second mortgage, which is forgiven after 15 years. No payments are due if the borrower lives in the home for the term of the mortgage. However, a lien held by the County is placed on the home during the mortgage period. If the home is sold or ceases to be the principal residence of the borrower, if the borrower refinances with cash out or if the borrower uses the home as collateral for a home equity line of credit before the 15 years have elapsed, the loan must be repaid in its entirety within 30 days of closing. The loan does not need to be repaid if the refinancing was to obtain a lower fixed interest rate or to create additional living space due to an increase in family size.

Eligibility. Households wishing to participate in the program must meet the following guidelines: Be creditworthy; Able to obtain a 30-year fixed rate first mortgage from an approved lender that meets the Lake County Lenders Guidelines; Cannot own a home for the last three years; and Must have incomes that do not exceed the following guidelines based upon household size.

How to ApplyIn order to be considered for the SHIP Down Payment Assistance Program, you will need to consult with Consumer Debt Counselors and determine your mortgage readiness. Once you are determined mortgage ready, you will be referred to the Housing and Community Services Department and placed on the waiting list.

You may contact Consumer Debt Counselors at 407-599-0057.  For more information about the program, call 352-742-6530.

Consumer Debt Counselors participates in and sponsors several programs to accomplish these goals. Make an appointment to speak with one of our certified housing counselors today to learn how we can help you.

Can't make it to an in-person HUD homebuyer education class?

We also offer our HUD-approved home buyer education class online for just $99. The course is available in both English and Spanish.

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