Blog Housing $15,000 in down payment assistance to qualified Philadelphia homebuyers

This fall, Wells Fargo Foundation and NeighborWorks America launched NeighborhoodLIFT (LIFT), a new assistance program for Philadelphia homebuyers.

LIFT provides a $15,000 grant that can be used towards down payment and closing costs assistance for eligible homebuyers who purchase a home within city limits.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be an eligible borrower (see guidelines below).
  • Purchase an eligible property within the City of Philadelphia and occupy the property as your principal residence (see guidelines below).
  • Make sure all borrowers have a combined gross annual income below $54,000.
  • Have a pre-approval letter from an approved NeighborhoodLIFT first mortgage lender.
  • Complete 8 hours of homebuyer education from an eligible NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyer education provider, such as NKCDC, and have a certificate dated within the past 12 months (find NKCDC’s education options here)

Homebuyers who are approved must have a fully executed Agreement of Sale within 90 days of receiving their LIFT qualification letter to receive the grant.

How it works 

The grant is structured as a “soft second” mortgage loan that is conditionally forgivable over the five-year term of the LIFT loan. 

The borrower always receives $15,000 but in many cases will still need to come up with minimum investment and settlement costs.

In an FHA loan, LIFT can be used to pay for the borrower’s closing cost. However, unless the borrower also receives assistance from a government agency or nonprofit instrument of the government, LIFT cannot be used to meet the borrower’s 3.5% Minimum Required Investment.

Eligible borrowers

NeighborhoodLIFT is not restricted to first-time homebuyers. The list below identifies all eligible borrowers for the program:

  • First-time homebuyers – has not owned a home in the previous three years
  • Ready again homebuyers – has owned a home in the previous three years or may currently own a home that is being sold prior to obtaining NeighborhoodLIFT
  • Living Trusts
  • Non-arm’s length transactions must meet agency (Fannie/Freddie, FHA, VA etc.) and/or the first mortgage lender’s guidelines

Eligible property types

  • Single family (attached or detached)
  • 2-4 unit
  • Condominium
  • Townhouse
  • PUD
  • Co-op
  • Land trust
  • Manufactured homes meeting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA or state HFA guidelines

For more information

Learn more at For additional questions about LIFT, contact Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks at 833-710-LIFT (5438).