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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Gov. Quinn stops in Marion to promote "Welcome Home Illinois" program

  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was in Marion Thursday to promote the new loan program
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  • Tabitha Smith and her husband Devin have been looking to buy a house for the last couple years. The couple didn't have any luck, though, because the banks they went to were going to require a down-payment that was too high for them to afford.
    They decided to rent a trailer in Johnston City until they could find a better place to live. But with two twins boys on the way this summer, the couple knew they must find a way to buy a home.
    Luckily for them, the "Welcome Home Illinois" program was available.
    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was at the Smith's newly purchased home in Marion Thursday to promote the new loan program, which is through the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
    It helps people like the Smith's get $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.875 percent for a 30-year mortgage.
    "It worked out perfect for us," Tabitha, 20, said.
    Quinn said the Smith's are just two of 412 people across the state who have qualified for the program so far.
    Quinn said it is designed to help everyday people who are working hard and living paycheck to paycheck. The governor said buying a house is the number one investment most people make in their lives.
    "We want to make sure we have affordable and safe mortgages to help everyday people in Illinois, Quinn said. "They are the heart and soul of Illinois. They are the men and women who are raising kids and working jobs. We want them to have the chance to have a yard and a place for them to raise their kids at their home."
    "Welcome Home Illinois" is meant to help working families who have borrower income limits up to 140 percent of the area media income.
    According to a press release from the governor's office, a family of three in Marion earning up to $82,915 could qualify for the assistance.
    The program is partially funded through Illinois Jobs Now and the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
    "We want to help everyone in the state of Illinois — especially southern Illinois — to get a chance to buy a home," Quinn said.
    Meghan Aloffo with House 2 Home Realty and the Illinois Association of Realtors said the program will help more people get into homes. She said there is currently a high demand for housing throughout the state.
    "We are beginning the very busy season of spring when people are more likely to buy and sell properties," Aloffo said. "This program will help people get into homes."
    According to date from the National Association of Realtors, every home sold generates two jobs and $60,000 in ripple effects to the overall economy.
    Page 2 of 2 - In 2013, about 3,000 families purchased homes through programs by the state and generated roughly 1,500 jobs and about $70 million for the state's economy.
    "This isn't just good for Illinois," Aloffo said. "This is good for Marion and southern Illinois."
    John Streuter of Peoples National Bank said the new program is helpful because homeownership has been a problem since 2008 due to the regulations and hurdles first-time home buyers have to go through.
    "It's giving us a program that banks can work with to provide first-time home buyers the opportunity to buy a new home," Streuter said. "Illinois has stepped forward and said that they still believe in first-time home buyers."
    Quinn said the program has only been around for a couple of weeks, but there has already been an outstanding response.
    The program's website, WelcomeHomeIllinois.gov, has had more than 50,000 hits on the website since its launch.
    "Never in the history of the Illinois Housing Development Authority have we had a more popular mortgage," Quinn said.
    Quinn also stopped in Collinsville Thursday to talk about the program. For more information about the program, visit WelcomeHomeIllinois.gov.

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