WINNEBAGO – As part of his agenda to support our veterans in honor of Memorial Day, Governor Pat Quinn today will visit cities across Illinois to discuss his Welcome Home Heroes program. As part of this program, veterans and their families can take advantage of the $10,000 in cash down-payment assistance that is available. Visiting Rockford, Chicago, Rock Island and Decatur, the Governor is continuing his push for a responsible budget that adequately funds critical veterans services.
“It is Job One on the homefront to take care of our veterans and military families for all of the sacrifices they make,” Governor Quinn said. “With programs like Welcome Home Heroes, Illinois leads the nation in serving those who have served us. I will continue to fight to ensure we protect our essential veterans services for those who have sacrificed so much.”
In addition to the down-payment assistance, the program provides a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with an affordable interest rate (currently 3.875 percent); and a mortgage tax credit worth up to $20,000 over the life of the loan to reduce federal income tax liability. Since the program’s launch three years ago, 1,300 Illinois veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members have accessed more than $165 million to buy their homes.
The Governor today will visit several veterans and their families today who have achieved their goal of homeownership through the Welcome Home Heroes program:
- Dr. Eric Luke, and his wife, Andrea, had been renting in the Rockford area since 2009 while taking care of Dr. Luke’s father who was sick. Luke served four years in Korea and reached Staff Sergeant in the Iraq War and now is currently a chiropractor. They’re excited to be in the new house and Welcome Home Heroes made it possible. “We did save our dollars. We’re savers by nature,” Dr. Luke said. “However, when you factor in student loans from medical school and things we might potentially need to fix up in our new house, we realized that the assistance from Welcome Home Heroes would be just the product to put us over the top. We really appreciate the assistance.”
- Billy Lynn served in the Marines from 2000-2004 and achieved the rank of Sergeant. After becoming a Marine he and his unit were deployed in Australia. He was only there for six months when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred. His unit was deployed to Afghanistan and was one of the very first units to arrive there. He purchased his home in Evergreen Park in October of 2012. “I wouldn’t have been able to buy my house without Welcome Home Heroes,” Sgt. Lynn said. “The program is great. The assistance ($10,000) really made my home purchase a possibility for me.”
- Joshua Thompson is an IT Tech with the Rock Island Arsenal and is also currently in the Army National Guard as an Active Reserve Soldier. He served in Afghanistan from 2010 – 2011 as a Specialist. After coming home from service overseas in 2011, Josh rented in the Quad Cities area as that is where he is from. He purchased his home in October of 2013 after he learned of the Welcome Home Heroes program from co-workers who are other military personnel at the Rock Island Arsenal. “I had high standards for the home I wanted to buy. There were a lot of things I was looking for and if it weren’t for the assistance by the Welcome Home Heroes program, I would not have been able to purchase this home,” Thompson said. “Mary at U.S. Bank explained the program to me and helped me through the process. Overall it’s been fantastic!”
- Paul Joliff served in the U.S. Army from 1986 – 1990, where he achieved the rank of an E4 Specialist and worked as a mechanic and crew chief on cobra helicopters. He then served in the National Guard from 1990 – 1994. Paul and his two children recently closed on their home on May 14th in Forsyth. “Welcome Home Heroes was huge for us,” Joliff said. “The assistance allowed me not only to get a bigger house, it also allowed me to stay in Forsyth. My kids are in the school there and I love the school district. Getting a bigger home in a great school district was what I really wanted and Welcome Home Heroes helped make that happen.”
Welcome Home Heroes is one of a number of affordable mortgage programs the Governor has launched. In total, Governor Quinn has targeted $20 million total in state capital Illinois Jobs Now! funds to the Welcome Home Heroes program to help increase affordable homeownership opportunities for military veterans and their families.
Additionally, Welcome Home Heroes and other Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) programs help benefit the overall economy. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR), every home sold generates two jobs and $60,000 in ripple effects to the overall economy. This impact has already been realized statewide with other IHDA programs. In 2013, 3,000 families purchased homes through one of IHDA’s programs, generating 1,500 jobs and infusing $70 million into Illinois’ economy. Projections show that even just a 15 percent increase in 2014 could generate an additional 1,725 jobs and infuse another $10 million into Illinois’ economy.
“Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Welcome Home Heroes continues to eliminate barriers to homeownership that many Illinois military families face by providing a financial package that is one of the most substantial in the nation,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “As the state’s housing finance agency, we are proud to offer a program that helps military homeowners and improves local real estate markets across Illinois.”
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.
For more information about the Governor’s programs for our veterans, visit OperationHomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs at (217) 782-6641 or (312) 814-2460.