SHIRLEY - Residents in Suffolk County are taking advantage of a program designed to help out first-time home buyers.

The 2013 Down Payment Assistance Program offers a contribution of up to $14,000 for income eligible families who have at least $3,000 saved.

According to the program guidelines, homes that qualify for assistance cannot exceed $362,790. The program is designed to provide residents with an incentive to stay on Long Island amid the rising cost of living.

Suffolk County officials say there is about $500,000 that will be given out to those who apply.

Applications are now being accepted; those who wish to apply can call the Community Development Office at 631-853-5705 or visit