The purpose of Panama City's Community Development department is:
- Housing – to increase, preserve and improve housing that is affordable and livable and, to the extent possible, ensuring long-term affordability and contributing to neighborhood revitalization.
- Social and Human Services – to ensure that all people in Panama City live in safe, strong and caring communities. The city seeks to enhance the quality of life and promote self-reliance, growth and development of its citizens. To these ends, the city strives to provide resources and services to meet basic human needs.
Community Development achieves its mission of providing safe, decent affordable housing for its citizens by maintaining partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, affordable housing developers, non-profit organizations and others who share the common goal of producing affordable housing. Through these partnerships families in need, including special needs populations such as the elderly and other low- to moderate-income families, are able to obtain housing they can afford.
Programs offered by the department include affordable home ownership opportunities for first-time home buyers. These programs offer second mortgage loans for down payment assistance and settlement costs for the purchase of any detached single-family home, townhouse or condominium within the city's jurisdiction. Purchasers are required to contribute a minimum of $1,000 of their own funds toward the down payment and/or closing cost assistance. This program is funded with federal and state monies and provides no-interest loans with repayment deferred for 30 years, or until the property is sold, refinanced or transferred whichever comes first.
In addition to down payment / closing cost assistance, Community Development provides homeownership counseling and foreclosure prevention counseling. Also available is a home rehabilitation program that enables low income owner- occupants to correct code violations and health and safety issues. Besides addressing affordable housing issues, other federal monies received are used to undertake infrastructure improvements benefiting low to moderate-income citizens.