Housing and Financial Counseling Program

St Johns County Housing Counseling Program is granted HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Approval as a certified Housing Counseling Program.  For the past several years St Johns County Health and Human Services has been moving forward to provide St Johns County residents the availability of housing and credit counseling based on HUD (Housing and Urban Development) standards. In December of 2018, the Department received this approval.

Program Overview

Given the great need for homeownership assistance in St. Johns County we use all available state / federal homeownership assistance and subsidized loan programs in order to help as many income eligible individuals and families as possible.

This is a complicated process because programs have different guidelines and can be difficult to access. It takes skill to know which can be combined, how to get started, and whether you may need purchase assistance from more than one program.

To assist, the St. Johns County Housing & Community Development Division developed a comprehensive program called the St. Johns County Housing and Financial Counseling Program that brings all of the available resources and contacts together to help prospective home buyers.

The old familiar SHIP program has evolved from the only funding source locally available for homeownership purchase assistance to an additional source of assistance which may be partnered with other state or federal assistance on an as-needed basis.

What the Homeownership Program Does

The St. Johns County Homeownership Programs has assembled a team of housing professionals to guide eligible first-time homebuyers through all phases of the home buying process. This comprehensive program provides the following services:

  • One-on-one credit counseling for rebuilding or perfecting your credit history.
  • Homeownership Education
  • Affordability Consultation
  • Referral to the most beneficial mortgage loan program for your individual situation.
  • Access to all available State or Federal down payment / purchase assistance programs you are eligible for.
  • The ability to access SHIP purchase assistance funds to partner or layer with other state or federal funds if needed. (When available.)
  • Coordinates interaction between the credit counselor, mortgage consultant, lender, purchase assistance programs, builder/developer or realtor and closing agent.

Please Note: Submittal of a St. Johns County Homeownership Program Registration Packet is mandatory in order to participate in county programs offering purchase assistance funds.

Mission Statement

St. Johns County Housing is responsible for the promotion, development, preservation and administration of affordable housing programs, initiatives and policies in St. Johns County. These programs are designed for Affordable Rentals, Home Ownership and Rehabilitation.

To achieve this mission, we will:

  • Provide Information and referral service.
  • Manage our funding resources efficiently, effectively and cooperatively.
  • Network with other agencies that share our goals to improve the quality of life for County Residents.
  • Educate the community about available affordable housing resources

Housing and Urban Development Approved

The St Johns County Housing Counseling Program is granted HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Approval as a certified Housing Counseling Program.  For the past several years St Johns County Health and Human Services has been moving forward to provide St Johns County residents the availability of housing and credit counseling based on HUD (Housing and Urban Development) standards. In December of 2018, the Department received this approval.  If you like more information on the program, or to register, please contact Ginny Campbell, HUD Certified Counselor at (904) 209-6146 or vcampbell@sjcfl.us.

We look forward to helping you realize your dream… homeownership.


Are You a First Time Homebuyer?

Eligible applicants include individuals who don’t own their current home, don’t claim their mobile home as real property or have it homestead exempted, and haven’t owned a home within the past three years.

Acceptable Credit History

Acceptable does not mean that your credit must be perfect; however, you must be “credit worthy” to qualify for a home mortgage loan through the program’s lenders.

The St. Johns County Homeownership program has credit counselors to help you in rebuilding or perfecting your credit. If you believe that you have not established a good payment history, have negative credit items or have not established any credit, all is not lost. We can refer you to a legitimate, non-profit organization that can counsel you on repairing your credit and help you get positioned to attend the next St. Johns County Homeownership Programs Orientation.

Eligible Properties

Property must be located in St. Johns County and be an owner-occupied single family residence. Program requirements vary — condos, town homes, existing homes and DCA approved modular homes are eligible under certain programs. Mobile homes, duplexes, etc. are not.

Employment and Income

Must have a minimum of two years continuous satisfactory employment history in the same field for one year immediately prior to application. This includes part-time as well as full-time job history.

Income limits

There are maximum income limits and sales price limits associated with the program. This means that in order to qualify for the program, your income must not exceed the program’s limits for income and the sales price of the home that you would like to purchase cannot exceed the program’s limits.

2024 Gross Income Limits
Adjusted to Family Size
(Based on Area Median Income of $98,100)

Persons per HouseholdVery Low Income (50%) AMILow Income (80%) AMIModerate Income (120%) AMI

Unfortunately, households earning less than $30,000 annually may be unable to purchase a home through these programs.
* Those households earning more than the Moderate Income category are over-income and ineligible to participate.

** In computing eligibility, it is required that the gross income for the entire household such as permanent roommates, employed children over 18, elderly parents, and others not applying for the mortgage loan be counted.


How Lenders Decide the Loan Amount You Can Afford

The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and nonhousing expenses. Non-housing expenses include debts such as car payments, student loan payments, alimony, or child support. According to the FHA, monthly mortgage payments should be no more than 29% of gross income, while the mortgage payment, combined with non-housing expenses, should total no more than 41% of your income. Different loan programs will naturally have different guidelines.

The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, bill payment history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount. Additionally, you may also want to estimate how much of a house payment you can afford to get a better idea of the loan amount you may need. If so, complete the How Much Can You Afford worksheet below.

How Much Can YOU Afford Worksheet

(Monthly Gross Pay + Other Gross Monthly Income) $__________________

Total Gross Monthly Income x 29% (Housing ratio) $__________________ (2)

Total Gross Monthly Income x 41% (Debt-to-income ratio) $__________________ (3)

(any installment debts with 10+ months remaining, such as credit cards, car payments, loan repayments, etc.) $__________________ (4)

Subtract Line (4) from Line (3) $__________________ (5)


(enter whatever is less, Line (2) or Line (5) $__________________ (6)

Multiply Line (6) by 20% (Estimated taxes & insurance) $__________________ (7)

Subtract Line (7) from Line (6)
(Maximum principle & interest payment allowed) $__________________ (8)

Divide Line (8) by a factor of 5.68 $__________________ (9)


Multiply Line (9) by $1,000 $__________________


Useful information regarding credit, mortgages, predatory lending, foreclosure prevention and other housing-related issues can be found using the resources below.

Get Started

First Steps

Learn about the programs available through St. Johns County, how the home ownership program helps, program eligibility, affordability, and additional resources with the Homeownership Program Brochure.

Program Registration

The St. Johns County Housing and Financial Counseling Program is designed to provide education and guidance regarding the complexities of credit and homeownership. Getting started is easy.

Choose One of the following registration options:

  • Visit our Online Client Registration website**, create an account, and we’ll contact you to set up an appointment with a Counselor. (**Registration website cannot be viewed in Internet Explorer. Please use Chrome or Firefox.)
  • Complete the Registration Packet and submit electronically with the Submit button included on form.
  • Print and complete the Registration Packet and mail to:
    Housing and Financial Counseling Program
    200 San Sebastian View, Suite 2300
    St. Augustine, FL 32084


Fee Disclosures* (Effective January 15, 2024)
Fees for Credit Report Pulls: $21.00 for one person, $42.00 for two people.
This fee will be charged each time your credit report is requested. All fees must be paid prior to the credit report being pulled.

* St Johns County Housing and Financial Counseling charges a fee for the cost of a credit report pull. The fee is waived if the payment of such would constitute a hardship to the client; the client is being counseled for default/foreclosure prevention or for homeless counseling.


Kelsey Vankirk Housing Program Specialist