Fewer people believe in the American dream.

The belief that anyone, from any background, can work hard and be successful in business, in life, in home ownership—including that proverbial white picket fence… it’s vanishing. Only 36% of voters believe in this rags-to-riches scenario, according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey. This is compared to 53% in 2012.

We are not going to let this dream slip away in Adams County.

Thanks to a strong network of partners who feel the same way, the Alliance is proud to announce a brand-new loan program, the Adams County Homebuyer Assistance Program, is accepting applications.

It’s a revolving loan fund administered by the Alliance, and generously funded through the Adams Relief and Recovery Fund by the Adams County Board of Commissioners.

Here’s how it works:

  • Loans are in the amount of $10,000—designed to help potential homebuyers get over the hump of the downpayment required to purchase a home.
  • There is 0% interest and no loan payments.
  • A second lien is taken on the property and the loan is repaid once the home is sold or refinanced.
  • There is a one-time administrative fee of $500.
  • To be eligible for the program, at least one family member must be employed full time by an Adams County business and the home must be located within Adams County.

Beautiful, potentially life-changing concepts are intertwined with this program, besides the obvious big one, opening that door to home ownership as part of the American dream.

Additionally, the program is designed to promote homeownership for Adams County’s workforce, which in turn, supports Adams County businesses. Our goal is to help more people live, work, and enjoy the high quality of life in Adams County. The fact that it’s a revolving loan fund means that this program will continue on and on for years to come.

Kudos go to our partner @Home in Adams County, a program under SCCAP’s umbrella. They thoroughly researched Adams County’s data and discovered the following:

  • 26% of Adams County homeowners are housing-burdened (8,021)
  • 42% of Adams County renters are housing-burdened (3,700)

What does this mean? Basically, housing expenses shouldn’t be more than 30% of what you earn, leaving 70% of your income for food, clothing, transportation and other necessities. You are considered “overburdened” if you spend more than 30% of your income on housing expenses.

“In a county where the rental market has just over 1% vacancy, and many of the wages earned in Adams County can’t keep up with the cost of housing, home ownership may feel out of reach,” says Megan Shreve, SCCAP CEO. “Programs like the Homebuyers Assistance Program can put the American dream within reach. Not only does home ownership provide more permanency and stability for a family, it also starts the process of building generational wealth. We are so excited about the opportunities this program offers to local families.”

To apply for the Adams County Homebuyer Assistance Program, contact Brady Rodgers, the Alliance’s director of business and community outreach at [email protected] or 717-334-0042 (ext. 104). He also encourages banks and employers to contact him and share this information with their employees and contacts.

“This program will help meet families where they are,” says Stacey Rice, @Home’s coordinator, “offering that boost that will positively change their lives.”

Robin Fitzpatrick is President of Adams Economic Alliance, which comprises three organizations: The Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC), the Adams County Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) and the Adams County General Authority (ACGA). Follow us on Twitter (@AdamsAlliance), Facebook (Facebook.com/AdamsAlliance) and LinkedIn (Adams Economic Alliance).

This article originally published in the Gettysburg Times, February 8, 2024