Governor JB Pritzker announced the reopening of a homeownership program designed to help working class families and underrepresented communities of color across the state of Illinois. Offered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the Opening Doors or Abriendo Puertas program is designed to aid lower-income borrowers and households of color who have historically faced steeper barriers in their path toward homeownership with $6,000 in forgivable assistance for down payment and/or closing costs. This latest round of assistance is funded through $10 million in Rebuild Illinois capital funds and is expected to assist more than 1,600 homebuyers.
“For generations, home ownership has paved a pathway to prosperity for working families,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Unfortunately, Black and Brown people who sought to achieve this, faced insurmountable odds and, because of a prejudiced system, were left behind. We are righting that wrong and breaking down barriers with this round of funding.”
Originally launched in Dec. 2020, Opening Doors assisted more than 5,800 first-time and repeat homebuyers with $35 million in Rebuild Illinois capital funds. The program is designed to increase home purchase accessibility for low- and moderate-income qualified homebuyers across Illinois. This includes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, who pay hundreds of millions in federal, state and local taxes, yet struggle to find mortgage lenders and programs that will work with them.
“Traditionally, buying a home has been the most common strategy for working families to put down roots in a community and build household wealth,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “The Opening Doors program will make these opportunities possible for so many families and I want to thank the Governor for his leadership in finding new ways to invest in Illinois’ people and communities.”
According to the U.S. Census, 75% of white families in Illinois own their homes. In comparison, 39% of Black families and 53% of Latinx families own their homes. Illinois faces a significant homeownership gap based on race and programs like Opening Doors are utilizing Rebuild Illinois dollars to help narrow the gap. In addition to the financial assistance, the program is supported by a robust marketing and outreach campaign that engages HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, realtors, mortgage lenders and others who work with historically disinvested communities of color to increase awareness and promote homebuyer education among potential borrowers and industry professionals.
“For too long our communities were shut out of the ‘American Dream’, so we are once again Opening Doors for thousands of families across Illinois and providing the critical assistance necessary to acquire the home of their dreams,” said Assistant Majority Leader Lisa Hernandez (D-Chicago).
Under Opening Doors, IHDA will provide a 30-year 1st mortgage with a fixed interest rate and $6,000 in down payment and/or closing cost assistance. The down payment assistance is forgiven after five years and no monthly payment is due from the borrower. Borrowers must meet all eligibility requirements established for IHDA’s down payment assistance programs, and homebuyer education is required. Opening Doors is not exclusive to first-time buyers and may be used by buyers in any county in the state.
Opening Doors is funded through a portion of the $200 million appropriation to IHDA in the Rebuild Illinois capital plan (P.A. 101-0029). IHDA has used funding from the capital bill to develop and implement various programs including reducing barriers to homeownership and revitalizing and stabilizing communities. IHDA expects to launch additional programs to help create and preserve affordable housing in the coming months.
All IHDA mortgage programs offer safe and reliable down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers, qualified veterans and non-first-time homebuyers. All mortgage products are subject to income and purchase price limits. Eligibility for each product is based on the borrower’s credit profile, household income and the purchase price of the home. In 2021, IHDA allocated nearly $1.2 billion to help 7,310 households purchase a home in Illinois.
Interested homeowners can find additional information and a list of participating lenders at www.ihdamortgage.org.