SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today announced $5 million in Illinois Jobs Now! construction funding to help an additional 500 military families purchase a home affordably through the Welcome Home Heroes program. At events in both Springfield and Midlothian, Governor Quinn also discussed the success of 2013 as the Year of Homeownership in Illinois. Welcome Home Heroes is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to help Illinois’ military families transition to civilian life, and to strengthen and stabilize communities by making homeownership more affordable.
“We must ensure our veterans and military families have the opportunity to pursue the dream of homeownership,” Governor Quinn said. “Our servicemembers have sacrificed so much for our freedom, and here in Illinois we honor that sacrifice with programs like Welcome Home Heroes. When we help more Illinois families afford homeownership, it also drives economic growth in every region of our state.”
Governor Quinn today visited the homes of military families in Springfield and the Midlothian to remind others about the take advantage of the $10,000 in cash down payment assistance the Welcome Home Heroes program offers. Both homes visited today were purchased through the program. Under the program, 1,150 Illinois veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members have accessed more than $140 million to buy their homes since Governor Quinn launched Welcome Home Heroes more than two years ago.
Welcome Home Heroes is one of four new safe and affordable mortgage programs the Governor has launched since 2011 – setting the foundation that made the Year of Homeownership in Illinois a record year. In 2013, the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) affordable loan programs helped more than 3,000 Illinois families access more than $328 million to buy a home. This marks a 60 percent jump from the previous year, and the highest annual total since IHDA began providing homeownership programs more than 30 years ago.
With today’s commitment, Governor Quinn has targeted $20 million total in state capital Illinois Jobs Now! funds to increase affordable homeownership opportunities under the Welcome Home Heroes program.
The program provides:
- a $10,000 forgivable loan over two years for down payment and closing cost assistance;
- a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with an affordable interest rate (currently 4.5 percent); and
- a mortgage tax credit worth up to $20,000 over the life of the loan to reduce federal income tax liability.
The families the Governor visited today achieved their goal of owning a home through the program.
- Jonas Harger, 31, and his wife, Angie, bought their new two-bedroom Springfield home in June 2013. After serving overseas in the Navy from 2000-04, Harger returned to earn a finance undergraduate degree and law degree. He now works as a Sangamon County prosecutor, and never thought he could afford homeownership. “In one word, Welcome Home Heroes provided an ‘opportunity,’” Harger said. “Without this program, we wouldn’t have been able to afford our home.”
- Stephene Maxwell, 44, who has served for 24 years in the Army/National Guard, including a deployment in Iraq from 2005-06 and also works as an administrative assistant at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, bought her new home in May 2013 in the Chicago suburb of Midlothian. “There are still days when I pull up to the house and can’t believe that it is mine,” Maxwell said.
“Governor Quinn understands that a home purchase has a ripple economic impact for communities – creating jobs and increasing local revenue from property taxes and real estate taxes,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said.
Communities also benefit from additional consumer spending by contractors, as well as residents furnishing their new homes. For example, the sale of 500 homes supports an estimated 250 full-time jobs and generates nearly $20 million in economic activity.
IHDA’s mortgages have lower credit score requirements, provide cash for down payment assistance and require homeownership counseling. A list of lenders is available at www.ihda.org.