March 15, 2010

Mayor Daley, Chicago Housing Authority Officials Recognize 300th Person To Purchase Home Through The Agency's 'Choose To Own' Program

Must Keep Dream of Home Ownership Alive, Mayor Says
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

View YouTube Video

Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Housing Authority officials today recognized the 300th person to complete a home purchase through CHA’s “Choose to Own” program.

“Since I’ve been Mayor, we’ve worked hard to make Chicago’s neighborhoods places people want to live, work and raise a family. Especially in these difficult times, we must work hard to help more people in more neighborhoods of Chicago become and remain homeowners,” Daley said in a news conference held in the house at 2431 W. 45th St. which Teresita Diaz, who has been in CHA’s Housing’s Choice Voucher program for 10 years, purchased through ”Choose to Own.” The property closing is scheduled for March 17.

Daley said that keeping alive the American Dream of home ownership during this recession has been a difficult challenge everywhere, but that “Choose to Own” has done just that.

The program allows participants to set aside part of their federal housing voucher toward future home ownership.

And it uses community partnerships to provide a comprehensive support network that includes financial assistance, home buyer education, credit counseling and other services that help the families navigate the process and increase their chances of success as homeowners.

It has been a great success. In the previous 299 home purchases made by “Choose to Own,” no active CTO participants are in foreclosure.

“That’s pretty amazing in our current economic situation and it’s a real testament both to the program and to the CHA voucher holders who have taken part in it,” Daley said.

The Mayor said that since 1989, Chicago has invested $4 billion in local, state and federal funds to create, improve and maintain more than 170,000 units of affordable housing.

And it has initiated numerous other programs to assist homeowners, such as:

  • The Tax Smart program, which provides an annual tax credit to qualified homebuyers to reduce their federal income taxes;
  • City Lots for City Living, which allows developers to purchase vacant City-owned property for affordable housing activities;
  • New Homes for Chicago, which provides purchase price subsidies to moderate income buyers and low-cost lots to developers;
  • The Emergency Housing Assistance Program, which uses CDBG funds to make emergency furnace, roof and porch repairs for low-income households, and
  • The TIF-Neighborhood Improvement Program, which uses tax increment financing to help homeowners make exterior improvements to their buildings.
  • The Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative, which has helped renovate more than 2,300 historic bungalows since 2004 through a combination of private grants and assistance from the Chicago Department of Environment.

“Keeping all of our neighborhoods affordable is an ongoing challenge and a top priority for the City of Chicago. Above all, I want to thank Teresita Diaz and the others in this program who have shown their faith in our City by working hard to make their dream of homeownership come true, ” Daley said.

# # #