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Grant And Loan Programs

Homebuyers Assistance Program

What is the Homebuyers Assistance Program?

UNPA has designed the Homebuyers Assistance Program as an incentive to attract buyers to the University Neighborhood and to financially assist families or individuals who are interested in buying a home in the UNPA Target Area.

The program has been in place since 1991. In those years, UNPA has provided assistance to more than 500 homebuyers with grants and loans totaling more than $1.2 million. In 2013, the focus of the grants changed to home improvement funding in place of closing cost assistance.

An "approved applicant" is one who buys property within the UNPA Target Area and plans to own and occupy it, and one who is eligible for a legitimate mortgage. There are no income restrictions. Funds can be used for both interior and exterior improvements and can be use to pay for materials, supplies and contractor costs. The purchase of major appliances is also an approved expense. UNPA recommends buying the most energy efficient appliances available as additional funding may be available from NYSERDA.

You may request a grant in the amount of $2,500-$5,000 and awards are based upon available funds. Just think of this assistance as a "gift from Mom and Dad" toward the improvement of a one-, two- or three-family house to remain or become an owner-occupied home within the UNPA Target Area.

Do I need to pay UNPA back?

The funding UNPA "grants" is legally recorded as a "10-year term zero interest loan" or "lien" or "second mortgage" that has a "due-on-sale" or "recapture agreement".

So, yes, you will need to pay UNPA back if you sell, rent or vacate the property before the required 10-year owner-occupancy term. Within the first 5 years, the funds must be repaid 100%. From Years 6 through 10, the amount of the payback decreases 20% a year until Year 10 when it is completely forgiven.

What paperwork do I need to submit to be considered for the program?

Once you find a property located within the UNPA Target Area, please contact UNPA. You will be instructed to submit an application.

How long does the approval process take? When are funds received?

The process can take as little as 1 week once UNPA receives your application. A pre-approval letter will then be mailed to you with instructions to submit required paperwork within 45 days after you close on your house. This paperwork includes:

  • Quote from contractor or supplier with start date, timeline, delivery date of items or materials.
  • Copies of any required permits from City of Syracuse's Code Enforcement office.
  • How will the difference of total project be paid?
  • Copies of deed or title report from closing.
  • Homeowner's insurance binder showing UNPA as a 2nd mortgage lender

Your legal transaction with UNPA and receipt of funds can occur only at the UNPA grant closing, which occurs after you have done your initial house closing. At closing you will receive 50% of total grant amount, less closing costs ($300). Projects then need to be completed within 60 days of receiving grant money. When complete, you will submit final paperwork showing how money was spent, i.e. receipts, copies of invoices, contracts.

Where is the UNPA Target Area?

The UNPA Target Area is bordered by Comstock Avenue on the West, East Colvin Street on the South, East Genesee Street on the North, and Cumberland Avenue on the East.


Please note, if you have an existing UNPA grant, there are no changes to your agreement with UNPA and you are not eligible to receive an additional grant.

Where do funds for the Homebuyers Assistance Program come from?

In 1993, Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse entered into an agreement (Ordinance 553) requiring the University to pay a fee of $250,000 annually to fund services addressing students' impact on neighborhoods southeast of the SU Campus (Special Neighborhood District) increasing each year with the Consumer Price Index. By 2013, SU will have contributed over $6.5 million.

City Ordinances 553 and 554 established both the Service Agreement and the rules regarding distribution of these monies. In 1993, the Service Agreement was officially signed, requiring an annual payment described above for the purposes of maintaining the "health, safety and welfare of the Special Neighborhood District such as police and fire protection, code enforcement, neighborhood organization support, and park and public area improvements." The signed ordinances also established UNSAAC (University Neighborhood Service Agreement Advisory Committee) to oversee distribution of funds. The purpose UNSAAC is to solicit proposals from non-profit agencies in the special neighborhood district located southeast of the University and to allocate money based on the guidelines of the ordinance.

Home Improvement Loan Program

What programs does UNPA have for Home Improvement?


Effective Immediately: Interest Rates as Low as 1.00% (APR 1.787%) for eligible homeowners.

Your University Neighborhood Home Improvement Loan is an affordable way to quickly access the money you need to make exterior home renovations and repairs — even if you have built little or no equity in your home.

This loan program offers you:

  • Financing of up to $10,000 (determined on a case by case basis)
  • No Income Requirements Low interest rate and closing costs Low fixed payments No pre-payment penalty Your choice of contractor (must have general liability and worker's comp insurance) Most exterior home renovations and repairs are eligible

You are eligible for this program if you own and occupy a property in the boundaries of the UNPA Target Area.

Eligible participants must also be current on their property taxes and water bills.

Apply today by filling out the attached application.

The process can start in as little as 24 hours, if you make sure to also include the following documentation:

  • Recorded deed to your home
  • Current homeowners insurance stating period covered and amounts of coverage Proof of income for applicant (copies of three current consecutive pay stubs, SSI benefit letter, social security, pension, unemployment, etc.) Last year's federal tax return (if filed) Driver's license or other form of picture identification Lead test results for children under seven who reside in the home

Home Improvement Loan Inspection Services

Home HeadQuarters, Inc. can provide home improvement loan inspection services for UNPA Home Improvement Loan customers. Inspection services conducted by trained inspection staff can include the following:

  • Review of work specification provided by contractor
  • On-site inspection of work in progress
  • On-site inspection of work completed
  • Required sign off by contractor, homeowner and inspector of project satisfaction for final payment

Fee for Inspection Service: $300 (Can be financed within loan)

Right of Refusal: UNPA Home Improvement Loan customers can waive this service prior to loan closing.

Mail, drop off, email, or fax your application to:

Home HeadQuarters, Inc.
990 James Street, Syracuse NY 13203
Fax: (315) 474-0637, Phone: (315) 474-1939

Rescue A Rental Programs

Are there any other homebuyers assistance programs or home improvement programs available?

Yes, the Rescue a Rental / Make a House Your Home Programs. This is an incentive program for owner-occupant buyers who want to purchase and transform rental properties within the designated Program Area. See attached brochure for more information and map of Program Area.