COLUMBIA, S.C. — One South Carolina program is trying to help the community's heroes when it comes to buying a house.

Eligible Palmetto Heroes homebuyers can get a 3.875% interest rate through SC Housing’s First-time Homebuyer Program, as well as forgivable down payment assistance of $6,000.  

Public school teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS workers may also be eligible for a forgivable $2,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Atlanta for down payment and closing costs, bringing the total available funds to $8,000

Mortgage loans are for 30 years and are available through any of SC Housing’s network of more than 100 participating lenders statewide. 

Maximum income limits are based on the median income per county and household composition. The Palmetto Heroes Program may not be used for refinancing.

 Details are available from our website here.


Teachers–Borrower must have a South Carolina Teacher Certification and must be employed as a classroom teacher or have a contract to begin teaching and to receive a paycheck within 60 days of closing on the home.

 Police Officers–Borrower must be a full-time police officer with state or local government agency including correctional officers with the South Carolina State Department of Corrections.

 Fire Fighters and EMS–Borrower must be a full-time or volunteer fire fighter or EMS with a state or local government agency.  EMS may be employed by a company contracted by the county/city to provide EMS services.

 Nurses–Borrower must have a Nursing Degree and be employed as a nurse in a hospital, doctor’s office, school or other medical facility.

 Veterans–Borrower must be a person who has served in the active military, naval or air service (full time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training) who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable discharge.

 National Guard–Active duty members of the South Carolina National Guard, any branch including SC State Guard.


Hardest Hit Funds for Homebuyers

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) is offering a $15,000 Down payment assistance program for twenty four ZIP Codes located in Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties.  The program, known as the Hardest Hit Funds Down Payment Assistance, is limited and residents in the specified ZIP Codes are urged to move quickly to reserve funds.

The following ZIP Codes are included:

 Lexington- 29006, 29033, 29053, 29063, 29070, 29073, 29210, 29123, 29160, 29170, 29172

 Richland - 29016, 29044, 29052, 29061, 29063, 29203, 29204, 29209, 29210

 Sumter- 29040, 29104, 29128, 29150, 29153, 29154

 In addition to purchasing a home in one of the qualified ZIP Codes, a potential home buyer must meet the following:

•             620 minimum credit score

•             Existing homes only

•             45.00%  Debt-to-Income Ratio


Maximum allowable Income Limits


                                1 or 2 Persons    3 or more Persons           Home Price Limit

Lexington            $69,900                 $80,385                                 $225,000

Richland               $69,900                 $80,385                                 $225,000

Sumter                 $75,000                 $87,500                                 $225,000