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West Cook County Housing Collaborative Announces First Availability of High-Quality Affordable Homes

Governor Quinn Praises Program as "Economically Smart"

CHICAGO, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The West Cook County Housing Collaborative, a joint effort between the municipalities of Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood, Oak Park and community development financial institution (CDFI) IFF, announced today the immediate availability of seven new quality affordable homes for sale in Bellwood and Maywood. The homes, six in Bellwood and one in Maywood, will be made affordable to buyers with incomes at or below eighty percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The initiative also provides a down payment subsidy of up to $10,000 to support the sale of each home.

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Formed four years ago to address the extremely high foreclosure rates affecting these five suburban communities, the Collaborative, with IFF providing project management and coordination, has successfully acquired, rehabilitated, and made affordable seven formerly foreclosed, vacant homes, all within one mile of transit stops.

"This is one of the best, economically smart ways that we can help working families and address the foreclosure problem in some of our hardest hit areas," Governor Quinn said. "Affordable housing will help families put down roots and strengthen communities for years to come."

The Collaborative's approach, to redefine each municipality's geographical boundaries as one community, is effective because it allows them to combine resources, giving them the ability to do more together than they could alone.  "When the mayors of our five communities came together four years ago to talk about how we could best address affordable housing issues, we determined  that the best chance we had to improve our local economies was to work together," said Oak Park Village President David Pope. "And now we are seeing the successful results of that collaboration. We did not do it alone; we did it together."

This announcement comes just one year after the Collaborative received an award of nearly $3 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of the Sustainable Communities Program, and just under $4.3 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), both to increase affordable housing for families in West Suburban Cook County.

"Having lived in Forest Park my whole life, being part of the Collaborative represents, to me, the very meaning of community," said Mayor Calderone of Forest Park. "Working with my neighbors in West Cook County to increase housing affordability and improve the lives of families not just in Forest Park, but in all five communities, has not only been a rewarding experience, but one that has produced results, and will continue to, for generations to come."

Further praising the efforts of the Collaborative, Mayor Yarborough of Maywood said, "I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this important collaboration—of what we have already accomplished, and the possibilities of what we will accomplish as we continue to work together."

In addition to the seven homes available for sale now, twenty-one additional homes will be available in Maywood, Bellwood and Forest Park, for a total of 28 new homes by the end of 2013—which will be situated so as to make it easier for families to get to work, doctor appointments, childcare centers and schools.

For more information about the available homes, please contact Marz Timms at the West Cook Homeownership Center at (708) 771-5801 or www.westcookhomeownership.org.     

IFF conducts all business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law.

About IFF
One of America's leading nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs), IFF strengthens nonprofits and their communities through lending and real estate consulting that helps these organizations plan, finance, and build facilities that are critical to their success.  Founded in 1988, IFF has total assets of more than $235 million and serves nonprofits working with low-income communities and special needs populations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. To learn more about IFF, visit www.iff.org.

Marc Brailov: 312-596-5124
Kate Maher:  312-521-7385  


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