Program to Help First-Time Buyers of Illinois Foreclosure Homes

by on States

A study showed that many Illinois residents are living less financially comfortable today than they were two years ago.

DuPage County launched a program to help people pay their utility bills. So far, the program was able to process about 25 percent requests for help, higher than the total figures last year when the unemployment rate was still manageable.

Recently, DuPage County Board members gave approval for the distribution of over $3.6 million for a program that will help struggling residents pay their living costs. Included in the allocated funds were energy assistance grants amounting to $260,580. Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program’s grant fund of $2.3 million, partial funding of $500,000 for an administration center for the Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PAD) and assistance for first-time buyers of foreclosure homes.

The assistance program for first-time homebuyers is made possible through the county’s coordination with the DuPage Homeownership Center. The DuPage Homestead Program seeks funding sources to provide home loans with low interest rates, according to Homeownership Center executive director Dru Bergman.

The program also aims to make it easy for families to live in DuPage. Since 1992, the program helped over 500 families purchase homes. Bergman said that so far, only one homeowner who purchased his house under the program lost it to foreclosure.

However, the Homeownership Center noted a growing number of people losing their homes to foreclosures. Before the mortgage crisis started in 2007, an estimated five families would seek help monthly at the foreclosure counseling service of the county. In 2006, around 54 homeowners received foreclosure counseling.

But since then, the number of homeowners seeking foreclosure counseling went up dramatically. From January to August this year, there were already 374 troubled homeowners who sought the help of the center. Bergman noted that some homeowners who seek help were victims of bad mortgage loans.

Meanwhile, the county’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program was able to help about 10,881 since it started last September up to May. The figures represented an increase of over 2,000 homeowners compared with the previous year.

The county was able to distribute nearly $4.65 million, thanks to a 34 percent federal funding increase. County officials said that income eligibility requirement for the program will be increased to 200 percent from 150 percent of the poverty line which is $33,072 annually for a four-member family.