Holland schools launches down payment assistance program

Holland Public Schools announced a brand new program aimed at attracting and retaining teachers in the district on Tuesday.

HOLLAND, Mich. — This week, Holland Public Schools announced a brand new program aimed at attracting and retaining teachers in the district.

It’s called the “Teachers Live Here” program and is made possible thanks to an anonymous donor. The program offers teachers up to $25,000 in down payment assistance for a new home in exchange for those teachers staying with the district for at least another five years.

Each year, the district will choose 10 recipients from the list of applicants. Those eligible will have purchased a home within 15 miles of the district, make less than $100,000 a year and have completed at least one year with the district.

Priority will be given to first-time home-buyers, but there will also be relocation opportunities for teachers who don’t currently live in the district.

During the district’s announcement, Holland Mayor Nathan Bocks addressed the crowd saying, “Holland is a great place to live, to work, to play. We know it. A lot of people know it. A lot of people want to live here and that has made housing expensive. In some cases, too expensive for people who want to do one of the most important jobs that there is: Teaching our children.”

Bocks comes from parents who were teachers and is now married to a teacher, which is why he adds that, “At a very early age, I knew that teachers were not paid as well as other professions. I saw that the financial life of a teacher could be, really, very difficult.”

The district also introduced the program’s first recipient, Lillian Snoeyink, a first year Spanish teacher.

“It helps immensely. I can’t even describe how much it helps. I mean, obviously, the housing market has been crazy. Even though prices have gone down a little bit, interest rates are still extremely high. So, that has definitely put a limit into the different houses I’m looking for, but this down payment assistance, it makes a big difference in the houses that I’m looking at,” said Snoeyink.

Applications for the first year of the “Teachers Live Here” program are being accepted through May.

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