If you’re looking to dip your toes in the real estate market and get settled into your first home, the city of Long Beach might be the place to put down roots.

The city launched a new website on Monday for its upcoming First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program. The program will provide first time homebuyers up to $20,000 to help pay for a down payment and closing costs.

The program hasn’t begun writing checks yet, but the city is expected to begin taking applicants in early 2023.

Mayor Robert Garcia said it’s an excellent opportunity for those looking to make the city their home and said the city is excited to provide assistance to “help make the dream of homeownership a reality.”

The program is a grant, not a loan or mortgage service, meaning those chosen to receive it won’t have to worry about paying it back. Those eligible include low- and moderate-income families that are traditionally underrepresented in home ownership.

Applicants will need to be first-time homebuyers who currently live within a federal “Community Development Block Grant” area in Long Beach. For a map of the included areas, click here.

Applicants will also have to be a “first-generation home buyer,” meaning someone whose parents or guardians never owned a home or who previously owned a home but lost it due to a foreclosure or short sale. People who grew up in the foster system are also recognized as first-generation home buyers.

Those who wish to be chosen will also need to be a legal resident of the United States and be qualified for a 30-year fixed mortgage.

The program is facilitated through the city’s Development Services Department.

In total, 100 families will be selected to receive the funds.

While the program is not open yet, Long Beach residents who are interested in the program can sign up to receive updates and additional details as the window approaches. The Development Services Department will be hosting various orientation sessions over the coming months to help families with the application process.

“Long Beach is proud to help support pathways to homeownership for local families,” said Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “By investing in down payment assistance, we are ensuring that our housing programs meet the needs of our diverse community, making sure residents can achieve the dream of homeownership.”

The program, the city says, is made possible by the Long Beach Recovery Act, which aims to fund “economic and public health initiatives for Long Beach residents, workers and businesses critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of $5 million has been set aside to help with housing assistance in Long Beach, including $3 million for the first time homebuyer program. The remaining $2 million will be used for other housing program initiatives.

For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, click here.

Long Beach is home to about 470,000 people, the city says. And officials hope this program will keep them around for the long haul.