Habitat for Humanity of Illinois Awarded $1 Million Grant from Illinois Housing Development Authority to extend Building Impact Program

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Funding allows Habitat for Humanity Illinois to continue providing loans to qualifying low – and very low-income households in Central and South Central Illinois for the purposes of home acquisition, construction, and or rehabilitation.

CHICAGO—Building on their successful partnership, the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) Board of Directors awarded $1 million in funding to Habitat for Humanity of Illinois (HFH Illinois) to support the organization’s Building Impact initiative. This allocation represents the largest single grant awarded to HFH Illinois for a one-year period and the third time IHDA has provided funding for the program over the past two years.

Established in 2014, the Building Impact program provides low income Illinois residents with housing assistance in amounts ranging from $15-$20 thousand per family. Eligible families must earn at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), with a preference to families at or below 50% AMI. HFH Illinois will utilize the additional funding from IHDA to offset construction costs or buy down mortgages to help underwater homeowners. HFH Illinois anticipates this grant will help over 50 struggling families who can apply online.

“Habitat for Humanity of Illinois, and IHDA share a common mission and vision that entails preserving and building affordable homes and communities throughout the state,” said Mark Miklosz, Habitat for Humanity of Illinois, Board Vice President. “When we joined forces in 2014 we were able to make important headway in helping alleviate the pressures on many hardworking Illinois families by providing down payment assistance to aspiring homeowners in purchasing quality housing for their families.

“Since 2014, 31 low income and 14 very low income families have benefitted from this program alone, translating to $700,000 in no interest loans that stand to transform their lives and communities for the better,” Miklosz added.

“IHDA is proud to support Habitat for Humanity Illinois expand the Building Impact program,” said IHDA Executive Director Audra Hamernik. “Habitat for Humanity Illinois has done a great job administering the program and helping Illinoisans build equity through homeownership.”

One Family’s Experience

The funding provided to Habitat by IHDA has a real and meaningful impact on the lives of Illinois residents throughout the state. Angelique Vanderbilt. 48, a resident of Urbana, is the proud owner of a new home she built with assistance from Habitat for Humanity of Illinois.

A mother of two and grandmother of one, Vanderbilt moved to Urbana after years as a renter in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. A certified medical assistant, like many Illinoisans she struggled to make ends meet, often working two and three jobs simultaneously. After relocating to Urbana, she continued to rent, ultimately becoming frustrated with rent payments—which she considered to be a waste of her resources since she would never accrue any equity. Additionally, her credit rating was poor creating yet another seemingly insurmountable barrier to ever realizing her dream of being a homeowner.

In early 2012, a friend of Vanderbilt’s mother told her about Habitat for Humanity and encouraged her to apply, which she did online. Shortly thereafter, she received a detailed information package in the mail telling her about an upcoming orientation session in her community. While she was hopeful, Vanderbilt knew that being approved for a Habitat funded and constructed home would an uphill battle given her credit rating. Her concerns proved valid when her initial application was denied because of poor credit—which ultimately led her to file for bankruptcy.

However, Vanderbilt refused to give up. Through Habitat, she was able to connect with financial coaches who helped her raise her credit score over time. Diligently following the plan prescribed to her by the coaches, she was soon able to substantially raise her credit score and reapply for Habitat assistance in September of 2013. By November she was approved. Needless to say, she was elated, as was her entire family. Now they would finally have a home of their very own, after years of struggling as renters.

Having worked side-by-side with scores of volunteers, including the women’s softball team from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Vanderbilt is now the proud owner of a new 1,300 square foot, ranch style home with three bedrooms and two full baths. Today Vanderbilt has an affordable 20 year mortgage.
“It was one of the best decisions I made for me and for my family,” Vanderbilt said. “Habitat for Humanity of Illinois literally changed my life and the work they do is so important for people like me who aspire to homeownership.”

Since moving into her home Vanderbilt has encouraged others in the community to participate in the program. “I’ve actually helped four other families get Habitat homes as well,” Vanderbilt added.

IHDA and Habitat for Humanity of Illinois

By extending its relationship with Habitat for Humanity of Illinois, IHDA also fulfills its mission of financing the creation and preservation of affordable housing across Illinois – with an emphasis on areas identified as high need in South and South Central Illinois.

With its expansive network of 51 affiliates statewide, and strong support from a robust volunteer base, Habitat’s Building Impact program has been utilized by 14 Habitat affiliates throughout Illinois, including:

Champaign
Dixon
DuPage County
Fox Valley
Freeport
Grundy Three Rivers
Lake County
McLean County
Northern Fox Valley
Ogle County
Peoria
Rockford
Sangamon
Will County

The Building Impact program is administered through Habitat for Humanity of Champaign. Interested households can find the application online at: http://www.habitatillinois.org/impact/.

About Habitat for Humanity of Illinois
Habitat for Humanity of Illinois is this state’s support organization. Founded in 1999, It works state-wide as part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope. Habitat for Humanity of Illinois is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through its affiliates in constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.

Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that everyone has a decent place to live, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

About the Illinois Housing Development Authority
IHDA (www.ihda.org) is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and the preservation of affordable housing across Illinois. Since its creation in 1967, IHDA has allocated $12.4 billion and financed approximately 240,000 affordable units across the state.