Rock Island Homebuyer Assistance Program Reaches Milestone - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Homebuyer Assistance Program Reaches Milestone

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     Promoting home ownership in the Quad Cities area is what one organization in Rock Island is all about and it just hit a major milestone in helping people toward that goal of owning a home.
     Rock Island Economic Growth just helped its 600th homebuyer close on their home. Many of them are people who never would have thought buying a house would be possible. Between a down payment, closing costs, and improvements it can be a lot for someone looking to buy a home. Since 1998 that's where "GROWTH" has stepped in for many seeking assistance. 
     "We've grown the program that at one time was probably bringing online one to two homes a year, to now we're at almost $10 million in investment," said Brian Hollenback, President of Renaissance Rock Island.
     Different programs provide things like financial education first and, along with help covering costs of the purchase, there's rehabilitation assistance like a roof replacement that might be necessary in the first couple years. Big ticket improvements like that are sometimes what puts new homeowners at risk for default on a mortgage.
     "With the challenges after 2008 we continue to see the percentage that we have minimal delinquencies and minimal default," said Hollenback.
     By creating more success stories the programs area stabilizing neighborhoods in Rock Island. Sometimes, vacant homes get a second chance. Or new builds, like the half dozen new houses on 10th street, help to boost the population base
     "People are less transitional and people are making improvements into the properties and increasing our tax base."
     Whether it's new construction or a renovation, more projects getting underway need the hands to make it happen which means jobs. It's about making good neighbors throughout the city too.
     This year GROWTH is growing beyond Rock Island and extended its service area to the entire Illinois Quad Cities.
     There are different eligibility requirements and homeowner contributions for those who take part.  Some of the assistance funds come through HUD and new housing programs are expected to be available next year.