Is Penn still offering home ownership incentives?

Dear Benny:
Given the recent economic downturn, is Penn still offering home ownership incentives to help faculty and staff buy property in West Philadelphia?
--Ready to Settle

Dear Ready:
The short answer is, yes. Despite the slump in the national real estate market, Penn offers financial assistance to current homeowners and new buyers. Through Penn Home Ownership Services, full-time faculty and staff of the University and Health System can still get assistance in purchasing a home. The Enhanced Forgivable Loan, a $7,500 forgivable loan, is available for eligible faculty and staff interested in living and/or currently residing in specific boundary areas within the West Philadelphia community. These loans can be used for closing costs, down payments, buying down interest rates, interior or exterior home improvements and/or home energy audits. In addition, the loan can be used to convert a property from a multi-family to a single-family residence.

PHOS also offers the Closing Cost Reduction Program, a financing option with discounted closing costs to the University community for the purchase and refinancing of homes in West Philadelphia. This program is offered through Penn’s current banking partners, Advance Bank, Wells Fargo & Company, Gateway Funding and Bank of America.

To learn a lot more about the incentives, you should attend the lunchtime Fall Home Ownership Educational Series from Nov. 2 through Nov. 6. The seminars will address topics of interest to current homeowners, those in the market to buy a house and people planning to buy property in the future. Seminars are scheduled to run each day from noon to 1 p.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. You can find details at The seminars are free to Penn and UPHS employees, but participants should register through the PHOS website. Call 215-898-7422 for more information.

Got a question for Benny? Send it via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on October 29, 2009