Filling vacant homes a priority of new home buying program in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo --- If you are looking to buy a home but are afraid you might not be able to afford it, a Kansas City Congressman wants to offer you a financial boost.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat in Missouri's Fifth District, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James will announce the return of a popular homebuying program Monday.

It's called NeighborhoodLIFT, and it's financed by Wells Fargo. The bank is providing $5.7 million in down payment assistance to boost home ownership in Kansas City. If you live in Jackson, Cass or Clay County and qualify for this program, you can receive up to $15,000 from Wells Fargo to be used on your down payment.

Jackson County officials say there are more than 15,000 vacant homes in the Kansas City area. This program is meant to help young families buy a home they can then fix up and bring new life to growing neighborhoods.

According to the Census Bureau, 53.7 percent of Kansas Citians own a home. The average monthly mortgage payment is $1305 while the average rent payment is $826 a month. It's cheaper to rent. By offering $15,000 grants, city officials hope it will encourage more people to take the risk and buy a house.

If you are interested in this program, Wells Fargo is hosting a home buyer event July 27-28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. Go to wellsfargo.com/lift to sign up and learn more.