FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno city councilmember Esmeralda Soria says not enough people in Fresno own their own homes. She says a new program aimed at providing 0% interest loans for families making less than one hundred twenty thousand dollars a year could change that. 

“Well, I think that it helps everyone right? One in the sense that it mitigates the homelessness issue. Two we’re going to see more people housed and have the opportunities for stability in neighborhoods, and it changes a neighborhood when you actually have people who own there,” Soria said. 

During Thursday’s city council meeting- every member present voting yes for the no place like home initiative. At an estimated cost of over $10 million, Soria says the money is coming from the American rescue plan. 

“It says a lot about council and this administration, that we’re serious about what’s in front of us, which is a housing crisis,” Soria said.

The initiative would let residents who have lived in Fresno for at least five years apply for a down payment loan of 15 thousand dollars. The applicant must be a first-time home buyer and take a home buyers class. After five years, Soria says the loan could be forgiven- and seen as a grant. 

The second part of the initiative is aimed at addressing homelessness with tiny homes. 

Soria says the tiny home village would get built on publicly owned land, they would build community assistance centers nearby, and eventually have purchase options available for tenants- similar to someone owning their own mobile home.

“This is going to allow a family making up to 120 thousand dollars, to access a down payment assistance, and they can leverage it with other entities assistance may have out there but that gives them a head start in this process,” Soria said.