New Program to Turn Vacant Homes into Affordable Homeownership Opportunities

Qualified low-income buyers of vacant homes may access up to $25,000 for acquisition and rehabilitation

CHICAGO, IL – July 1, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) today announced the launch of an innovative program that will target $6.6 million to help low- to moderate-income families afford homeownership, and return vacant homes to productive use in communities across Illinois. This is the latest effort announced as part of Governor Pat Quinn’s proclamation of 2013 as the Year of Homeownership, and will further his administration’s continued commitment to strengthen and stabilize communities.

“Governor Quinn’s administration is dedicated to sustaining homeownership by focusing on foreclosure prevention to keep people in their homes, rehabilitating vacant properties to create valuable homebuyer opportunities and boosting affordable opportunities for homeownership,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Homeownership continues to be one of the most significant ways for Illinois families to build wealth, and strengthens communities by providing economic benefits to the local economy.”

The Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program will use a holistic strategy to turn challenges into opportunities in communities outside Cook County. The program will stimulate the reuse of approximately 240 vacant single-family properties in Illinois communities and enable more working families to take advantage of currently low housing prices by making homeownership safe and affordable.

Administered by the state housing finance agency, the new Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program will allocate grant money to 16 public and not-for-profit organizations to operate and administer grants in communities outside Cook County. Starting this fall, qualifying low- to moderate-income homebuyers of vacant single-family homes can apply through these organizations for grants up to $5,000 for acquisition and up to $20,000 for rehabilitation for home modification repairs and improvements.

Homebuyer applications will be available this fall through the organizations. The program is not limited to first-time homebuyers. For increased affordability, this new assistance can be coupled with IHDA’s existing loan products, which feature secure 30-year fixed-rate loans and up to $10,000 in down payment assistance. More information will be available at

The program will be funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is generated from half of the state real estate transfer fee.

Returning properties to productive use benefits communities by creating jobs and increasing 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. The increase in affordable housing stock helps families starting out or starting again, and promotes economic growth. For example, the sale of 500 homes supports 250 full-time jobs and generates almost $20 million in economic activity.

IHDA board members recently approved allocating grant money to the following organizations, which will make the grant money available to homebuyers this fall:

• Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County
• BCMW Community Services
• CEFS Economic Opportunity Corp.
• City of Freeport
• City of Kankakee
• City of Moline
• City of Rockford
• Madison County Community Development
• METEC Housing Counseling Resource Center
• Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago
• North West Housing Partnership
• Rock Island Economic Growth Corp.
• Tri-County Opportunities Council
• Wabash Area Development, Inc.
• Western Egyptian E.O.C., Inc.
• City of Aurora

For potential homebuyers, IHDA has a number of loan programs currently available that feature a safe 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and up to $10,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance. Buyers must qualify based on income and purchase price limits, and can apply for the loan package through an IHDA lender. A list of lenders is available at

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