DANVILLE — Nathan Yohe said the yard was part of what influenced him to buy a new home in Danville.

His wife, Anna, loved the kitchen.

"I love the kitchen with the beautiful white cabinets and lots of space," said Anna, who teaches piano at The Music Box in Danville. She also enjoys the deck, the porch and living in a "nice, quiet neighborhood."

But without the Montour County Housing Authority's closing cost assistance program, they would have had to wait to buy a home.

"It wasn't possible without the program. We are just starting out and didn't have a whole lot of savings built up," Anna said.

"The program helps people invest in a home," said Nathan, who is the pastor of God's Missionary Church in Danville. 

They were married in June 2016 and moved to the Danville area. They had rented a home since June 2017. 

Their landlord decided to sell the house they were renting.

The couple contacted a realtor, who helped them find their home. 

Nathan heard about the closing cost assistance program from the Montour County Human Services Office.

He contacted the housing authority and they were approved for the program.

Housing Authority Executive Director Kris Andreas wants people to know about the program.

"We need to get the word out," she said. The program assists first-time homebuyers by providing closing costs of up to $5,000.

The program is available to eligible individuals or families toward the purchase of a home in Montour County.

Some time ago, Montour County's commissioners created the program, which is funded by a percentage of recording fees paid from deeds and mortgages filed in the county.

County Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds Linda Weaver said the authority receives a check every month as its share of fees collected.

Since 2016, 10 homebuyers have been helped. "There is no lien and no pay back. It's all free money," Andreas said. 

Andreas said the program is aimed at increasing the availability of affordable quality housing to residents who meet the income guidelines.

Applicants are referred to the authority once a bank or financial information of their choice and the mortgage officer determines they qualify.

The candidates must be first-time homebuyers and meet the annual income guideline of under $56,950, she said.

A first-time homebuyer is defined as a household not owning a home during the last three years or a single parent recently widowed, displaced from his or her home or legally separated from a spouse and having one or more minor children with the individual having joint or full custody. 

The property involved must be used as a primary residence. There is no time limit on how long the homeowner must live there.

Once a financial institution considers an application for closing costs assistance, an appointment will be scheduled with the authority. Applicants will be asked to provide the following information — original birth certificates for all household members, Social Security cards for all household members, driver's license and photo ID for any household member 18 and older, names and addresses of current employers and documents about any other source of income.

After the authority approves the applicant, the financial officer is contacted, a closing date is requested and the authority issues the closing cost check.

For more information, call Andreas at 570-275-3640.