To many residents in Columbia County, when they hear the word SHIP, they don’t think of boats or waterways. Instead, they think of their home. SHIP is the acronym for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program. Through SHIP, funds are available to low and moderate income families for housing assistance. In Columbia County, the Suwannee River Economic Council facilitates the distribution of SHIP funds, which may be used for emergency repairs and rehabilitation as well as down payment and closing costs assistance for home ownership.
One of the requirements to receive SHIP funds for down payment and closing costs assistance is the completion of a 6-hour home-buyer education course, offered by UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County. The course is designed to help SHIP applicants better understand the home-buying process as well as the financial responsibilities that come with owning a home. Participants learn about a variety of subjects, including how much they can afford, the wise use of credit, and home energy efficiency. Additionally, local industry experts volunteer their time to talk about different loan options, the mortgage process, and the benefits of using a real estate agent.
UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County holds home-buyer education classes quarterly. The summer class is filling up quickly but plenty of space is still available for the fall class, November 1-2, 2017. The class is free but you must pre-register by calling 386-752-5384. You do not need to qualify for SHIP assistance to attend the class.