December 2, 2020 – Governor JB Pritzker has announced the creation of two new programs designed to help bring additional assistance to working-class families and underrepresented communities of color across the State of Illinois. Offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the SmartBuy and Opening Doors programs were designed to aid communities of color, which have historically endured many barriers in their path toward homeownership. These programs will help contribute the financial assistance necessary to begin addressing the pitfalls that traditionally have created financial barriers, with a goal to provide equal opportunities for all Illinois residents. Both programs were launched on December 1, 2020, and will continue until funding is exhausted.
“One of the biggest obstacles to buying a home is saving enough money for a down payment, which is increasingly difficult when saddled with student loan debt and taking care of a family,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Smart Buy and Opening Doors mortgage assistance programs will help bridge the financial gap that has historically prevented certain communities from owning a home. While we cannot undo past harms that resulted in barriers to homeownership for too many Illinoisans, my administration is committed to providing assistance that will allow more people to reach this goal.”
While many people are taking advantage of low-interest rates and purchasing a home, multiple studies show that access to homeownership continues to be out of reach for certain populations. To further compound that, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs reported that 17% of Illinois residents – more than 2 million people – carry student loan debt, with an average value of $29,855. A 2018 study by the University of Illinois found that outstanding student loan debt negatively impacts wealth accumulation for all borrowers, but the impact is especially significant for Black and Latinx borrowers.
“Governor Pritzker made a promise after his election that he would work to remove barriers and make housing safe, affordable, and stable for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or immigration status,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “These programs are a direct result of the Governor’s public charge to invest in Illinois’ people and communities and we look forward to increasing homeownership opportunities for those who thought owning their own home was out of reach”.
Both programs were created using appropriations allocated to IHDA in Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan and will continue until funds run out. Borrowers must meet all eligibility requirements established for IHDA’s DPA programs, and homebuyer education is required. The program is not exclusive to first-time buyers and may be used by buyers in any county in the state.
The program is expected to assist approximately 500 to 1000 borrowers.
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December 2, 2020 at 11:42AM