EAST CHICAGO | Beneficiaries of the city's homebuyer assistance program were honored in a reception Friday, with staff and lenders on hand to help even more hopefuls participate.
More than a dozen individuals and couples this season have joined the ownership program, which provides up to $25,000 toward the down payment on a newly built house, and $10,000 for existing residences, in the form of a forgivable no-interest second mortgage.
"We want people to work here, and we want people to live here," Mayor Anthony Copeland said. "If you buy a home in East Chicago, we will invest in you."
With $1.5 million in federal funding and $200,000 from the City Council, redevelopment officials are preparing homesteads around the city for private ownership.
New all-brick single-family homes are being built at the former site of Washington High School, now dubbed Washington Square, with 14 lots available for construction.
Another 11 new homes already have been completed around the city and are move-in ready, Redevelopment Director Maria Becerra said.
Several designs, all with multiple bathrooms, full basements and attached garages, are available from Steger-based Phillippe Builders, which is building the Washington Square homes.
The homes cost between $160,000 and $190,000. As they are sold, the money will be returned to a revolving fund to build more homes, ultimately erecting entire new blocks in the North Harbor and Calumet areas.
"The best measure of growth is home ownership," Copeland said. "The city had to put its money where its mouth was."
Five city lending institutions are available for the financing program, with the incentive loan forgiven if buyers stay in their new homes for 10 years or in an existing home for five years.
"We share the mayor's vision of building a community," said Redevelopment Commission President Ruby Powell-Flowers. "Now is the time to build a future."
The city has been conducting regular workshops to familiarize potential home buyers with available properties and the incentive programs.
For detailed information, or a walk-through, contact Nicholas Smith at the Redevelopment Department at (219) 391-8513, ext. 267, or firstname.lastname@example.org .