Staff Spotlight: Noemi Aviles

Empowering New Yorkers on their Homeownership Journeys through Downpayment and Closing Cost Assistance

In honor of National Homeownership Month, we proudly spotlight Noemi Aviles, NHSNYC’s HomeFirst Program Manager. Since 2004, NHSNYC has been the primary administrator of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (NYCHPD)’s HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program. HomeFirst provides qualified homebuyers with grants up to $100,000 toward the down payment or closing costs on a 1-4 family home, condominium, or cooperative in one of New York City’s five boroughs. These down-payment and closing cost assistance (DPCCA) funds make the dream of homeownership a reality for hundreds of New Yorkers every year.

As NHSNYC’s HomeFirst Program Manager, Ms. Aviles plays a crucial role in helping low- and moderate-income families across New York City achieve the dream of owning a home. In the year 2023, the HomeFirst program awarded more than $6.5M in downpayment and closing cost assistance funds to 94 families, awarding on average roughly $69,000 in grants per household.

Ms. Aviles’s day-to-day responsibilities are extensive and multifaceted. She works directly with counseling agencies across all five boroughs of New York City to process applications, underwrite loan agreements, liaise during the closing process, and provide post-closing support for clients. Her tasks include assembling and completing case files, reviewing and screening applicants to the program for eligibility, issuing approvals to those who qualify for funds, and coordinating closings with attorneys to release the downpayment assistance funds. Ms. Aviles ensures that funds are wired correctly and that all closing documents are in order to make the process as seamless as possible for program participants. Through this meticulous process, Ms. Aviles helps turn the dream of homeownership into reality for many New Yorkers.

Ms. Aviles joined NHSNYC in May 2017, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a passion for helping others. She began her career in banking, working with institutions like Citi Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Washington Mutual. However, after multiple mergers and the closure of her bank, Noemi transitioned to the nonprofit sector, joining Parodneck Foundation, where she initially focused on foreclosure work. Her expertise in underwriting and documentation quickly made her a valuable asset, and she has carried those transferable skills with her to NHSNYC.

When asked about the most critical challenges facing her clients, Ms. Aviles described navigating the overall housing market as the primary challenge for her clients. With income limits and eligibility requirements changing annually, and with sellers often demanding quick closings on their properties, the path to homeownership can be fraught with obstacles, especially for low-to-moderate income New Yorkers. Additionally, clients must secure a mortgage before applying for a grant through the HomeFirst Program, a process complicated by high interest rates and stringent lending criteria.

Despite these challenges, Ms. Aviles finds her work gratifying. Her strengths in underwriting and documentation, combined with her ability to connect with community partners and clients alike, make her an effective and compassionate program manager. Noemi holds various certifications through NeighborWorks America, including foreclosure, post-purchase counseling, and homeownership counseling and management, which enhances her ability to support her clients effectively.

Ms. Aviles emphasizes the importance of partnership in the success of the HomeFirst program. “It is a joint effort to get as many people into homes as possible,” she shares, “and partnership is crucial to making it work.” Her dedication and commitment ensure that NHSNYC can continue to make a significant impact on the community. Through Ms. Aviles’s tireless efforts, NHSNYC’s HomeFirst program continues to provide critical support to families striving for homeownership.

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