You can find them on the internet by doing a search for "Hard Money Lenders". You can also ask a realtor for a referral.
This is a legitimate question.VA loans are the most common "zero down" loans in the USA. Aside from VA...Our area (Southern California) has numerous down payment assistance programs. Rural development loans, improvement loans, redevelopment loans, first time home buyer programs... there are lots of options if you know how to find them. These programs operate in a variety of ways... silent seconds (no payments due until sale of property), some are equity sharing, some aren't. Some will even disappear if the owner keeps the home long enough. You're welcome to email or phone me for more information.
It would be worth an investigative call to both your escrow officer and your realtor to find out what they are basing this on. Both your realtor and your escrow officer should be able to clearly show you on the paperwork where this is written. Often the VA paperwork will state that you get a complete refund, even if a bank addendum states differently. Was this a bank owned property? This sounds like a bank addendum. However, like everything else in real estate... you could ask your realtor to negotiate it (split the difference, perhaps?) with the seller. You will have to sign something to authorize escrow to release the money to the seller and you will also have to sign a "Cancellation of escrow" . Until you release the funds, your money stays in escrow.