American Dream Program



Program Description

How much can you spend on the purchase of a home? 

That will be determined by several factors; i.e. credit history, income, debt ratio, down payment and closing cost amounts. 

Each family will be different, even if they have the same incomes. The factors cited above will make the difference in the amount of the first mortgage they receive. The amount of down payment they have will also be a determining factor. 

The program provides a 0% deferred second mortgage; combining up to $65,000 of HOME Program funds, which are paid back upon sale of house, transfer of title or the home no longer is your primary residence. Additionally, CDBG funds of up to $10,000 in matching down payment assistance are available to eligible applicants. These matching funds (CDBG) are forgiven 1/10th per year for 10 years, after 10 years these funds become a grant.

As an example, the maximum house price a family of (3) can afford having $10,000 down payment and having and income of up to $85.800 qualifying for a first mortgage of $257,400 as indicated below: 

   1st Mortgage (Bank) 


   American Dream

   (2nd mortgage)

$65,000 (deferred until sale of house; transfer of title)

   Down payment (Applicant) 


   Down Payment Match

   (3rd mortgage)

$10,000 (matching funds forgiven 1/10th per year for 10 years)

Purchase Price


*Applicant will also need to pay all closing costs

Upon determination of American Dream eligibility and completion of required housing counseling education classes participants will be partnered with an American Dream participating/approved conventional lender and complete a mortgage application. The lender will then determine your first mortgage amount and provide you with a commitment letter that you will submit to the American Dream Program coordinator so that a maximum purchase price can be determined. Upon the successful negotiation of a “Contract for Sale" an underwriting worksheet is completed to determine final subsidy amounts During attorney review process all required housing inspections will be completed to ensure compliance with necessary housing quality standards and all lead based paint requirements. 

Be advised we cannot unduly enrich a family. All reasonable assets must be used towards the purchase of a home. A family will be allowed to keep a dollar amount equal to three months mortgage payments in reserve. 

All loans are subject to County and Federal laws, rules, regulations and program requirements. Loans are also subject to the availability of program funds. 



To be eligible for Bergen County’s American Dream Program, you must meet the following qualifications

  • Reside or work full-time in Bergen County
  • If filed for bankruptcy, must be discharged 5 years with re-established credit
  • Not have owned a home in the past three years
  • A household must have an annual income within the low/moderate income as stated by the HOME Income Guidelines
  • Total income must be used to qualify for the program and will include all income from all sources, for all members of the household, who are over 18 years of age.



The home must be a one-family house or condominium purchase in Bergen County. No multi-family (two or more) houses or co-ops.

The purchase price must not exceed 95% of the county’s median sales price.

The home must be your primary residence and must be used for residential purposes only.

In determining the amount of any assistance, the program requires that all reasonable available assets of the applicant be applied towards the down payment.

Applicants must qualify for a mortgage. The mortgage shall be for the maximum amount the household can afford.

A Program Agreement must be signed, verifying your knowledge and understanding of program requirements.

Contact Us

Jacqueline Atkins

American Dream Program Director

 Bergen County Division of Community Development

One Bergen County Plaza • 4th Floor • Hackensack, NJ 07601

Phone: (201) 336-7206 • Fax: (201) 336-7248

Department of Administration and Finance

One Bergen County Plaza • 5th Floor • Hackensack, NJ 07601-7076

Phone: 201-336-7335 • Fax: 201-336-7304