PORTLAND, Maine (6/22/09)--Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci announced a new homeownership incentive Thursday for first-time homebuyers. Among its supporters: the Maine Credit Union League. MaineHousing's new "Gift of Green" homeownership incentive provides eligible First Home program borrowers up to $5,500 in financial incentives toward the purchase of a home, said the governor in a press release (US Fed News June 19). By combining the amount with existing federal incentives, the total financial incentives can be as much as $15,000, Baldacci said. The initiative helps make homeownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers, said John Murphy, league president. "In these challenging economic times, these opportunities are even more critical. Maine's credit unions have a long history of helping people, so helping make the dream of owning a home a reality for more Maine people is consistent with that commitment," he added. The Gift of Green offers a grant of up to $5,000, not to exceed 4% of the loan amount, to help with the down payment and other closing expenses. It also offers a coupon of up to $500 for a pre-weatherization and post-weatherization home energy audit. In addition to the league, the program is supported by the Maine Association of Realtors and the Maine Association of Community Banks.