Peoria’s Down Payment Assistance Program will provide up to 10% support for homebuyers; invests in historic neighborhoods

Peoria leaders want to increase homeownership in the city, but securing down payments on housing often stands in the way.

The new Down Payment Assistance Program allows potential buyers to earn financial support when looking for permanent housing in Peoria.

The program launched on Wednesday and qualified homebuyers can now get assistance of $5,000 or up to 10% of the purchase price of their home.

The maximum purchase price to qualify for the program is a house price of $125,000. All homes eligible for the program must be located in a qualifying census tract described in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Mayor Rita Ali said the program is part of Peoria’s $2.5 million investment in neighborhood revitalization through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We hope this program will spark reinvestment in our neighborhoods and continue to foster pride in our community. Home ownership is challenging and rewarding. This allows community members to build capital and provides them with the opportunity to call Peoria home for many years to come, Ali said.

Ali said increasing access to affordable homeownership in Peoria’s older neighborhoods lays the foundation for a better quality of life for the entire community.

“It means Peoria is opening up more opportunities, providing financial assistance to people who may not have that initial down payment. Sometimes it’s hard to save if you have limited income, but it’s an opportunity to supplement families who want to become homeowners,” Ali said.

The program will give Peoria’s legacy neighborhoods a chance to thrive and attract home buyers in the city’s East, Central and West Cliffs, South Side, North Valley and Averyville.

Ali said these neighborhoods not only make up the history of Peoria, but they contribute to the value of Peoria today.

“One of the biggest hurdles for most homebuyers, and they’re not always first-time homebuyers, but for a potential buyer buying a home, is the down payment. It is something that must show that they have upfront, free and clear of anything else before they can apply for these loans and be prequalified. So, with these down payment assistance programs, they are able to fund this without dipping into their own resources or stretching anything else too thin.

Jennifer Hamm, CEO of PAAR

“I think it’s a real investment in our neighborhoods and in housing. We lack affordable housing in the city in terms of quantity,” Ali said. “It’s not that we don’t have affordable housing. It’s not that we don’t have quality housing, but we need more. There is a demand for housing and the housing stock is simply limited. So it’s a great opportunity for us. »

Ali said the program is administered by the Land Bank of Peoria. The Land Bank was created in 2021 and serves to fight the scourge of neighborhoods and create equitable solutions for the city.

“For the long-term health of our community, the focus will go beyond vacant and derelict properties. The Land Bank seeks to provide new and innovative strategies to provide opportunities for growth and reinvestment in our community. The down payment assistance program is one such strategy,” Ali said.

The Down Payment Assistance Program is not only designed to attract more people to the Peoria community, but to help current residents transition from renting to owning an affordable home.

“Research has shown time and time again that home ownership provides a clear path to creating wealth and stability for our community members and neighborhoods. For many of these neighborhoods, home ownership is more affordable than monthly rentals,” Ali said.

Joe Dulin is the Community Development Manager for the City of Peoria.

Dulin said ideally community-wide homeownership is the goal.

“It’s important to know that this is not a home ownership program. Anyone can apply for the program. You have to have a mortgage, so we really encourage you to work with a real estate agent who then makes sure you’re connected to a lender,” Dulin said.

For people wanting to buy a home but unable to do so this year, Dulin said other nonprofit housing counseling agencies in the community can help prospective buyers improve their credit and contact lenders for help. future opportunities.

Jennifer Hamm is the CEO of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors.

The Peoria Area Association of Relatorsor PAAR for short, partnered with the City of Peoria to create the plan and help homebuyers.

PAAR CEO Jennifer Hamm said Affiliated Lenders and Realtors are the ones who will make this assistance a reality.

“We serve those who wish to sell and buy property, we fight for the rights of owners and we defend all those who wish to become owners. Home ownership is a pillar of the American dream. We look forward to promoting your grant and serving those who seek the American Dream,” Hamm said.

The program is spending $250,000 in total funds this year until all funds are spent, and $250,000 will be available again in 2023. After 2023, Hamm said Peoria will assess the program’s success.

“The city will still have extra money for the US bailout for 2024 and 2025. We had four years to spend the budget. So if the program is successful and we see strong demand, I think that’s something that our board could also be very supportive of what we offer in the future,” Hamm said.

Hamm said those eligible for the Down Payment Assistance Program aren’t just limited to that source of support. There are other options in Peoria that can remove the burden of their down payments as well.

“If you contact any of the Peoria lenders, there are many down payment assistance programs. The benefit of this grant the city is launching today can actually be stacked with other down payment assistance programs. So that’s a huge plus for people looking to get into home ownership,” Hamm said.

The following lenders participate in the Down Payment Assistance Program: Better Banks, Busey Bank, Flat Branch, Fortress Bank, Guaranteed Rate, Illinois National Bank, and Morton Community Bank.

Program material has also been translated into Spanishand the website is accessible in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, German, French, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Hamm said all lenders can help homebuyers complete the application and go through the process of getting help, though homebuyers can still apply if they’re not working with the lenders.

Overall, Hamm said the program would make a dramatic difference in Peoria.

“One of the biggest hurdles for most homebuyers, and they’re not always first-time homebuyers, but for a potential buyer buying a home, is the down payment. It is something that must show that they have upfront, free and clear of anything else before they can apply for these loans and be prequalified. So with these down payment assistance programs, they’re able to fund that without dipping into their own resources or stretching anything else too thin,” Hamm said.

People wishing to benefit from help with the deposit can apply for enjoypeoria.com/support

About Matthew R. Dailey

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