Keystone Challenge Fund provides financial assistance to very low, low or moderate income households purchasing homes to be occupied as their primary residence. We administer State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program funds for Polk County, the City of Lakeland, and the City of Winter Haven. SHIP funds provide down payment and closing cost assistance to eligible homebuyers who have secured first mortgage financing. Keystone’s programs are HUD acceptable to provide secondary financing for FHA insured and Conventional mortgage loans. GAP program down payment assistance varies depending on the income level of the buyer and the local government assistance program guidelines. Down payment and closing cost assistance is secured by a soft second mortgage.


Down payment assistance availability:

  • City of Winter Haven (inside the city limits) :  No funding available at this time
  • City of Lakeland (inside the city limits):  Limited funding available for Mod, Low and Very Low
  • Unincorporated Polk County:  Funding available for Mod, Low, and Very Low
  • City of Lakeland Midtown CRA (Call for map): Funding available for Mod, Low, and Very Low



Please review the GAP MANUAL for complete program details. Registration form can be found below (Downloads). 


Current Income Limits

Income Limits

 * Income limits may vary slightly depending on program.
** An additional $2,000 is usually available for closing costs assistance.




If you are a lender and require additional information, please contact:

Beth Niemeyer
[email protected]

863-682-1025 ext 3



For any questions about Keystone, please contact us: