Chattanooga Firefighter Andrew Womac and his wife are just settling into their new home.
He's the first to take advantage of a Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise grant now available to the fire department.
"CNE has offered us a great thing with getting our money. We wouldn't have been able to buy this house without this so we're really thankful for them and the city for giving us this opportunity," Womac says.
The program is the brainchild of Mayor Ron Littlefield.
CNE Director of Development Nick Wilkinson says making home ownership more attainable is a way to give back to those who put their life on the line for Chattanooga.
"They have a commitment and understand why it's great to be close to their stations and where they want to be. This hopefully will help them even get closer, and obviously we want to really take care of the folks who take care of the rest of us," Wilkinson says.
Wilkinson says the grant is available for the new energy efficient CNE-built homes, as well as homes they made need some TLC as part of downtown revitalization.
"There are actually incentives that would double on top of this incentive. There's really some amazing opportunities. We would love for firefighters and police officers to take advantage of it," Wilkson says.
Fire Chief, Randall Parker, says the forgivable loan is up to 20 thousand dollars for firefighters willing to move into the city of Chattanooga.
"It's just a benefit for us. It puts them in the neighborhoods, in the city. We're located centrally around the city and the neighborhoods and we want the firefighters to live in the neighborhoods as well," says Chief Parker.
Chief Parker says several other firefighters' home loans are also already underway... to help more of the department benefit from what he called the advantages of home ownership.
200-and 50 thousand dollars in funding is available.
The grants are anywhere from ten to twenty thousand dollars each.
The loans have no interest...
And they're forgiven after five years.