Online Staff Report
Illinois Gov.Pat Quinn Thursday an innovative state program to help provide affordable homeownership opportunities for people and communities in need.
The Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program will allow families buying vacant homes to apply for grants up to $25,000 to help encourage the reuse of existing real estate. The announcement is part of Quinn’s push to strengthen and stabilize Illinois communities by making homeownership more affordable.
“All of our hard-working families deserve an opportunity for homeownership and this new program will help make that possible,” Quinn said. “When we help more Illinois families afford homes, we also stabilize our communities and help drive economic growth across our state.”
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the state’s housing finance agency, allocated more than $6.6 million to 16 public and nonprofit organizations to help 240 low-to-moderate-income buyers. The program uses a holistic strategy to turn challenges into opportunities in targeted communities in suburban Chicago, Metro East, Rockford, Quad Cities, Peoria, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois.
“Gov. Quinn is dedicated to homeownership strategies that prevent foreclosures, rehabilitate vacant properties and increase affordable opportunities for homeownership,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Homeownership continues to be one of the most effective ways Illinois families can build wealth for their future and communities benefit from the economic impact.”
Returning properties to productive use helps communities by generating economic activity, including jobs and local revenue from property taxes and real estate taxes. Communities also benefit from increased consumer spending by contractors, as well as residents furnishing their new homes. For example, the sale of 500 homes supports 250 full-time jobs and generates almost $20 million in economic activity.
The program is not limited to first-time homebuyers. Qualifying low- to moderate-income homebuyers of vacant single-family homes must apply through the 16 organizations for acquisition costs, and up to $20,000 for rehabilitation for home modification repairs and improvements.
Homebuyers who are at or below 50 percent of area median income (AMI) will qualify for up to $5,000, and buyers between 51 percent and 80 percent AMI will qualify for up to $3,000 for acquisition. Please see ihda.org for a list of income limits.
The new assistance can be paired with IHDA’s loan products, which feature secure 30-year fixed-rate loans and up to $10,000 in down payment assistance. Buyers must qualify based on income and purchase price limits, and can apply for the loan package through an IHDA-approved lender at ihda.org.
The program is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is generated from half of the state real estate transfer fee.