Empower Homeowners

Empower Homebuyers County of Santa Clara logo

Empower Homebuyers SCC is a program of the County of Santa Clara administered by Housing Trust Silicon Valley. It provides down payment assistance loans to first-time homebuyers in the county and is funded by the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond. The program is aimed at assisting low to moderate income County residents – including employees at nonprofit organizations, teachers, healthcare professionals, County employees and others. 

How It Helps ​​

Empower Homebuyers is a loan for first-time homebuyers to help them with the down payment. The loan can be for up to 17% of a home’s purchase price – which means an additional 3% from a first-time homebuyer would reach a down payment of 20%.

Regardless of the amount borrowed, there are no monthly payments or interest with an Empower Homebuyers loan. The Empower loan plus a share of the appreciation on the home is repaid when the loan matures or you decide to sell or you refinance your mortgage.

You will share your appreciation in equal proportion to the amount you borrowed. For example, if your loan was 17% of the purchase price, you will share 17% of the appreciation and the rest of the equity that builds up on your home over time is yours. For instance, if you buy a house for $600,000 and use Empower to borrow 17% ($102,000) for the down payment, and the home is later sold for $800,000, you would owe $136,000 – $102,000 plus $34,000 (17% of the $200,000 appreciation).


  • You are a first-time homebuyer buying a primary residence in Santa Clara County
  • You must owner occupy the home
  • You have pre-approval from an approved lender (done prior to submitting application)
  • You have completed a HUD-certified 8 Hour Homebuyer Education class through the designated agency
  • You can put down a minimum of 3% of a home’s purchase price
  • The gross household income, including all adult household members, must not exceed 120% of the Area Median Income​

Maximum Gross Household Income by Household Size (2020)

Household Size​ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
​Income Limit ​$118,950 ​$135,900 $152,900 $169,900 ​$183,500 $197,100 $210,700 $224,250

Maximum Annual Gross Household Income Limits are established annually by the California​ Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)

How To Apply for Empower Homebuyers

The process begins by Completing An Online Interest Form with Housing Trust Silicon Valley 

For more information:​

CALL:  408-703-3837 ext. 301​​​​
EMAIL: [email protected]

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