Understanding PMHA’s Homeownership Program

Jun 27, 2024

Owning a home is a dream for many, and PMHA’s Homeownership Program is dedicated to turning that dream into reality. This program offers Section 8 and Public Housing participants the opportunity to use their vouchers toward monthly mortgage payments, making homeownership accessible to those who might otherwise find it out of reach. Read more for more details about this program and how you can get started.

What is PMHA’s Homeownership Program?

The Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority (PMHA) launched the Homeownership Program in 2001. This federal initiative allows eligible participants to use their Housing Choice Vouchers to pay monthly mortgage payments instead of rent. This shift not only provides home buying assistance, it helps participants build equity, fostering long-term financial stability and security. Additionally, participants in the Homeownership Program are not limited to purchasing a house off the market; they can also build their own dream home, giving them even more flexibility and control over their homeownership journey.

Benefits of the Program

Need assistance buying a home? PMHA’s Homeownership Program offers numerous benefits for participants:

  • Financial Assistance: Participants can use Section 8 Vouchers towards mortgage payments. PMHA pays more than $22k in mortgage assistance monthly.
  • Equity Building: Unlike renting, homeownership helps participants build equity over time.
  • Long-Term Stability: Owning a home can provide a stable living environment and potential financial security.
  • Flexibility: Participants have the option to either purchase an existing home or build a new one.
  • Support Throughout the Process: PMHA offers guidance from initial interest to post-purchase support. More on this below!


To participate in the Homeownership Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Income Requirements: Participants must earn an annual income of at least $15,000 and have stable employment for at least one year, working a minimum of 30 hours per week (unless elderly or disabled).
  • First-Time Homebuyer Status: Applicants must be first-time homebuyers or not have owned a home in the last three years, with no previous mortgage defaults while receiving Section 8 assistance.
  • Education Program Completion: Participants must complete PMHA’s homebuyer education and counseling, which assists them with meeting the program’s requirements for minimum credit score and funds available in a savings account.

Steps to Homeownership

Transitioning from renting to owning a home involves several key steps. Here’s a breakdown of how you can start your journey with PMHA’s Homeownership Program.

How to Get Started

  1. Verify Your Eligibility: Ensure you meet the program’s income, employment, and first-time homebuyer criteria (detailed above).
  2. Contact PMHA: Reach out with any questions and learn more about the program – contact Crystal Mathews, Homeownership Program Specialist, at (330) 297-1489 Ext. 257 or cmathews@portagehousing.org.
  3. Attend Orientation: Participate in an orientation session to understand the program details and requirements.
  4. Complete Education Program: Enroll in and complete the mandatory homebuyer education and counseling sessions.

Prepare Financially: The program requires a minimum credit score and a down payment of 3% of the home’s purchase price, with at least 1% coming from your own resources. However, PMHA may waive the 1% requirement if you have down payment assistance through other available community resources, which PMHA can assist in connecting you to.

Navigating the Process

Once you’ve applied and completed the initial steps of the Homeownership Program, PMHA will guide you through the home buying process, showing you how to buy a home with confidence. This comprehensive support includes finding a suitable home that meets program requirements and passes a quality inspection. Alternatively, participants can choose to build a new home that fits their needs and preferences. With the assistance of your voucher, PMHA helps secure mortgage financing, ensuring you have the financial backing needed to move forward. Completing the purchase transaction is done with the support of PMHA staff, providing expert guidance every step of the way. The timeline from application to purchase can vary but generally takes several months, depending on individual circumstances and the local housing market.

Support and Resources

PMHA’s Homeownership Program provides ongoing support even after you purchase your home. This includes continued access to financial and home maintenance advice through post-purchase counseling, information on additional community resources for homeowners, and regular check-ins to ensure your transition to homeownership is successful and sustainable.

Success Stories

Since this housing opportunity program was implemented in 2001, PMHA’s Homeownership Program has made it possible for a total of 78 individuals and families to bridge the gap from renting to owning their own home. Participants have even paid off their mortgages within 15 years!

“We are very excited and thankful to be part of the PMHA homeownership program. This house means everything to our family. Thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity to make my homeownership dreams come true!” Read more success stories.

Get Started with PMHA’s Homeownership Program

Ready to take the next step towards owning your home? To get started today with PMHA’s Homeownership Program, please contact Crystal Mathews, Homeownership Program Specialist, by calling (330) 297-1489 Ext. 257 or via email at cmathews@portagehousing.org

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2832 State Route 59
Ravenna, OH 44266
(330) 297-1489