CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced the U.S. Department of the Treasury will support the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) efforts to leverage up to $30 million of its federal Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) resources to eliminate blight in communities throughout the state. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to stabilize neighborhoods and return vacant properties to productive use to advance the economy.
“I thank the Obama administration for this important federal resource that will help us continue to keep our communities strong,” Governor Quinn said. “Our efforts to keep people in their homes have worked to stem the tide of foreclosures across Illinois. This new program will further stabilize neighborhoods by addressing abandoned and neglected properties that lure crime and reduce property values.”
"Neighborhoods across Illinois continue to struggle with the damaging effects caused by vacant and blighted properties, which hurt home values and weaken efforts to stabilize communities," U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Mary Miller said. “The U.S. Treasury is pleased to work with the state of Illinois as they launch this new effort to eliminate neighborhood blight and strengthen communities hardest hit by the economic crisis.”
IHDA will partner with eligible municipalities burdened with high vacancies to collaborate with not-for-profit organizations to implement the new “Blight Reduction Program” by this summer. This new effort builds on existing state programs targeted to help communities hit hard by the national financial crisis. With vacant properties damaging surrounding property values and fostering crime, removing vacant and blighted properties is the critical next step to preventing avoidable foreclosures and contributes to community stabilization efforts.
IHDA was awarded $445 million in federal foreclosure prevention resources under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). Illinois was one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to receive HHF funding. The Blight Reduction Program will be the fourth program launched with HHF resources. The first was the Homeowner Emergency Loan Program, which has provided direct financial assistance to 12,400 homeowners in distress, allowing them to stay in their homes. Two other programs, the Mortgage Resolution Fund (MRF) and the Home Preservation Program (HPP) launched with Hardest Hit Funds provide loan modifications to underwater and delinquent borrowers. Through its partners in these programs, the State has facilitated loan modifications to 395 distressed Illinois homeowners.
In addition to these programs, the Governor:
- Launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN), a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with a safe and trusted source for assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud. More than 1 million families have accessed this free assistance through the IFPN. Homeowners seeking assistance should visit the IFPN website at http://keepyourhomeillinois.org or call the hotline at 855-KEEP-411.
- Created Illinois Building Blocks program – available in 15 Illinois communities, buyers of vacant homes can access $10,000 in cash assistance to purchase a home. The program also provides funds for the re-development of vacant homes. To date, over 700 vacant homes have been purchased through this program.
- Launched the Illinois Homebuyer Rehabilitation Assistance Program – $6.6 million to 16 public and not-for-profit organizations to allow 240 low- to moderate-income homebuyers of vacant homes to apply for rehabilitation grants in seven targeted communities.
- Administered the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to purchase and rehabilitate 240 rental units and 106 foreclosed and abandoned homes that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight. An additional 29 blighted properties have been demolished.
Today’s announcement providing resources for blight elimination is part of the next phase of Governor Quinn’s ongoing commitment to help stabilize our communities and drive our economy forward.
“Governor Quinn’s leadership has positively impacted struggling homeowners and hard-hit communities,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “The Blight Reduction Program is the latest move in our holistic strategy to help neighborhoods fight the cycle of vacancy and blight and reinvigorate the economy.”
For more information about these programs, please see http://ihda.org.
About the Illinois Housing Development Authority
IHDA (http://ihda.org) is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and the preservation of affordable housing across Illinois. Since its creation in 1967, IHDA has allocated $12.4 billion and financed approximately 240,000 affordable units across the state.