Suwannee River Economic Council – Columbia County SHIP Purchase Assistance Program

Special Alert

Assistance amounts vary by income. Review program guidelines to determine assistance eligibility by income level.

Maximum Purchase Price


Contact Info:



Assistance depends on income tier (very low, low, moderate). See income tiers in application link. Down payment assistance cannot exceed 50% of the cost of the home including closing costs. In case of owner/seller financing, extra protection against default may be required placing the S.H.I.P. lien in first position priority, and the seller/financer in the subordinate lien position. Value of land owned or given may be applied toward client’s minimum cash participation. Construction contracts must be “turnkey” form, with floor plans, cost of materials and labor, and statement of no changes once submitted. Land owned at time of application will not be included in contract cost, but any financing payoff would be included. This applies only to site-built homes.

Credit Score Requirements

Based on 1st mortgage requirements.

Deferred Payments?

Determined by first mortgage product or lender.

Accepted First Mortgage Type:

Freddie Mac, Freddie Mac HFA Advantage, Freddie Mac Home Possible, Fannie Mae, Fannie Mae HFA Preferred, Fannie Mae HomeReady, FHA 203(b), VA, USDA / RD

Homeowners Education Class:


Is Forgivable?

Forgiveness: 10% per year from the date of the SHIP lien.


1 County: Columbia Property must be located in Columbia County.

Income Limitations:

Yes, based on Compliance Income (including household income) Income limits from HUD 2023 120% AMI guidelines Program uses Very Low (50% AMI), Low (80% AMI) and Moderate (120% AMI) income categories to determine assistance amounts. NOTE: Our program model utilizes the highest income category (Moderate), it is up to the lender to qualify the applicant in their correct income category.

Maximum Assistance

50% of Acquisition Cost up to $30,000 Maximum assistance is based on income: Moderate Income = up to $20,000; Low Income = up to $25,000; Very Low Income = up to $30,000. Down payment assistance cannot exceed 50% of the cost of the home including closing costs.

Education Requirements Info:

Eligible Property Types:

Single Family Detached Condo Townhome/PUD

Income By Household Size:

Minimum client participation required (cash) is 1% of the sales price

Qualifying Ratios:

Housing Ratio: Up To 30% Total DTI: — Check the Maximum Mortgage Affordability Levels for the affordability figures based on 30% of the income levels. This chart can be found within the program application.