Leonard Moten, a 62-year-old Marine Corps veteran, has traveled the globe during a distinguished military career taking him to such diverse places as Bogota, Columbia, and Tehran, Iran.
He has seen the world and experienced much, and because of that, he is not an easy man to impress.
Mr. Moten heard about the good works and knowledgeable staff at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, so when it came time for him to buy property, he thought he would see for himself.
Upon contacting NHS, he was informed The NeighborhoodLIFT program was available. Through the program, military service members or veterans like Mr. Moten, were eligible for up to $17,500 in down payment assistance if purchasing property in Cook County. Wells Fargo sponsored NeighborhoodLIFT and partnered with NeighborWorks America to find eligible applicants across the country. In Chicago, NHS was responsible for administering the program.
“I said to myself man, I just caught a beautiful blessing,” said Moten.
Mr. Moten submitted the appropriate forms, completed the NHS Homebuyer Education class, fulfilled the various requirements, and became one of over 400 NeighborhoodLIFT grant recipients. He subsequently purchased a multi-unit building in Little Village, his old neighborhood.
“No money came out of my pocket for the down payment,” Moten continued, “without that grant, it wouldn’t have happened.”
NHS NeighborhoodLIFT Administrator Shavon Hale said being a part of a team with a mission to create homeowners is “extremely fulfilling.”
“This is what we do daily here at NHS—we help people,” said Mrs. Hale. “We provide them with resources and numerous options. I’m glad to be a part of a great team that helps so many achieve their goal of homeownership,” she added.
Mr. Moten is a happy man and loves sharing his story with others. He lives in one unit of the building and rents the other out to a small family, generating income.
“I moved back to my old neighborhood and became a homeowner and a landlord, and now, I’m able to provide affordable housing to others in a place where there is a great need for it. I’m thankful NHS was there to help me through the process,” he said.
He has one more bit of advice for those who may think homeownership is out of reach.
“If being a homeowner and owning property is really what you want to do, you have to be persistent. Don’t give up and it will happen,” said Mr. Moten.