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June 21, 2006

Gov. Blagojevich announces $200 million available to help working families buy their own homes
More than 180 families in Cook County will be able to afford their new homes

CHICAGO– Building on efforts to help low-income working families realize the dream of becoming homeowners, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a commitment of $200 million for the I-Loan Mortgage program that will help 2,000 families around the state buy a home and enjoy the security and stability that homeownership provides.  On behalf of the Governor, Kelly King Dibble, the Executive Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) joined local families, officials and community leaders on Chicago’s Far South Side, to celebrate that more than 180 Chicago-area families will be able to afford their first homes.
Thirty three-year-old Chicago firefighter Rick Shea, his wife Laurie and daughters Ashley, 5, and Dana, 4, had been living in a trailer park for two years before the Chicago Firefighters’ Union put Rick in touch with the city-based Amalgamated Bank.  Loan officers at the bank helped the family work through their bad credit history to qualify for the state I-LOAN Mortgage under the Union Apprentice Program.  With its below market loans and down payment assistance, the program enabled Rick and Laurie to fulfill their dreams of providing a safe and decent home for their children.
The family moved into the three-bedroom home in April 2005.  The house allowed the children’s grandfather, Rick Sr., who had suffered an occupational accident over five years ago, to live under the care of the family.  IHDA awarded a $138,500 30-year fixed loan at a 5.95 percent interest rate to purchase the $139,900 house.
“Working hard as a Chicago firefighter was still not enough for Rick Shea to get his family out of the trailer park where they had been living for many years, and into the house of their dreams.  Many families like Rick Shea’s are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford to buy their first home,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “The I-Loan Mortgage program is an investment in individuals and families that will help make good homes available for hardworking people.  Being able to afford a home will help families build a more stable future.”
“At the time, my wife and I were so frustrated,” said Rick Shea.  “We were wasting our money away on rent when all we wanted to do was to build equity on a home and have stability for the kids.  The program helped us buy a decent home in a great neighborhood with no money down and an affordable, fixed interest rate.  It was perfect.”
The $200 million investment in homeownership announced for this year’s I-Loan Mortgage program, besides helping 2,000 families buy their first homes, is also predicted to create around 1,455 full-time jobs, yield $57 million in taxes and fees, and generate $113.5 million in economic activity for the state.
“The AFL-CIO applauds the Governor and IHDA for providing a path for families like the Sheas to afford a safe and decent home for their family,” said Margaret Blackshere, Illinois President of the AFL-CIO.  “Programs such as the Union Apprentice Program offered by IHDA and Amalgamated Bank recognize the homeownership needs of hardworking families in Illinois.”
The I-Loan Mortgage program offers a below market, safe 30-year fixed rate mortgage to help low- and moderate-income families and individuals become first-time homebuyers.  IHDA funds the program by selling tax-exempt bonds based on its own good credit to finance affordable mortgage loans across the state.  Some I-Loan approved homebuyers may also be eligible for cash grants to help pay for down payment and closing costs.  Since 2003, IHDA has helped more than 5,820 first-time homebuyers in 96 counties throughout the state become homeowners with a total of $577 million in I-Loan Mortgage loans.  This includes helping over 730 families and individuals in Cook County, with nearly $100 million in loans.  In 2005 alone, IHDA helped 1,990 people to buy their first homes with more than $201 million in financing.  240 of these homebuyers live in Cook County and received $33.2 million in loans.
The Union Apprentice Program is under the I-Loan Mortgage program and was started to serve first-time homebuyers in Illinois who belong to a certified union.  Since IHDA and Amalgamated Bank began its collaboration in 2004, 27 union members have been approved for loans totaling $4.6 million.
“Some of the most attractive features of the Union Apprentice Program are the flexible credit requirements and that you can end up contributing as little as $500 of your own funds as the help funds from IHDA can be used for down payment or closing costs,” said Bill Ware, Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Amalgamated Bank.  “We are proud to have partnered up with IHDA to make it easier for first-time homebuyers in Illinois, who are Union members, to get started, get approved and get moved-in to their first home.”
Homebuyers interested in the I-Loan Mortgage should visit IHDA’s website at www.ihda.org for more details and to find a list of IHDA’s approved lenders to help them apply for the program.  Information is also available by calling IHDA’s homeownership hotline at 1-877-I-LOAN-56 (1-877-456-2656).  To learn more about the Union Apprentice Program, please call Amalgamated Bank at 312-822-3000 or visit their website at www.aboc.com.
The I-Loan Mortgage program is a key component of Illinois’s comprehensive housing plan. Governor Blagojevich is the first Governor in Illinois history to require a coordinated plan to spend funds earmarked for affordable housing at several state agencies that have affordable housing programs. 
Under the Governor’s direction, a 35-member Housing Task Force consisting of advocates, developers, lenders, and state agency representatives developed the 2005 Building for Success: Illinois Comprehensive Housing Plan - the first statewide housing plan to increase affordable housing options to help six priority populations: very low-income households and families; low-income seniors; low-income people with disabilities; homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless; low- and moderate-income families and people unable to find affordable housing near jobs or transportation; and low-income families and people living in existing affordable housing in danger of becoming unaffordable. 
The Task Force recently developed “On the Road to Success: Illinois Comprehensive Housing Plan 2006” which continues to build on the coordinated success of the 2005 Comprehensive Housing Plan.
“Governor Blagojevich understands that to help hardworking people and their families to become homeowners and to provide them with an opportunity to create stability and investment also helps invigorate community development,” said IHDA Executive Director Kelly King Dibble.  “The economic impacts of homeownership are vast.  In addition to providing families with a safe, secure home of their own, homeownership serves as an economic engine for local and state growth.”


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