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First responders, educators eligible for first-time homebuyer grants
home buyers
The Central Valley Association of Realtors is offering grants to first responders and educators who are qualified first-time homebuyers in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties (Photo contributed).

Turlock educators and first responders looking to buy their first home are in luck thanks to a grant program created just for them.

With funding from the California Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Fund, the Central Valley Association of Realtors is offering grants to qualified first-time homebuyers who live in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties and helped the region persevere through the pandemic. 

Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and PK through college teachers can apply for the $1,000 first-time homebuyer “Keys to the Valley” grants, which are meant not only to say “thank you” to those who serve in the roles, but to promote a “live where you work” lifestyle in the two counties. 

“We know that sometimes housing affordability for our clients is difficult…We wanted to pick these two professions because during COVID, they were the ones who held us up,” CVAR President Debbie Mason said. “This helps them with some of the cost of purchasing their first home.”

The grants help to reimburse first-time homebuyers’ closing costs and are awarded after the close of escrow. With an ever-hot housing market in Turlock and the rest of the Valley, Mason emphasized the importance of giving those buying for the first time a leg up against their more-established competition. 

“It’s competitive for everyone right now because of low inventory,” she said. “It’s difficult for first-time buyers because there are other people who may have equity in another home that they’re carrying over to the next. They have a little bit more of a down payment, and that’s the competition first-time buyers are up against.”

According to a market update by Theis Realty Group, there were 33 active listings in Turlock as of last week compared to 25 on Jan. 2. The average time on the market for pending and sold properties is about 10 days, and the six-month year-to-date average home price in Turlock is currently $482,271 — up 16.2 percent from last year. The average price per square foot has also jumped 17.6 percent from 2021. 

“Any extra money definitely helps,” Mason said. 

There are 50 $1,000 grants available, and they will be disbursed until the funding is exhausted. To apply, visit and click on Keys to the Valley.