Throughout the Chicago region, 9 municipalities have been offering an EAH benefit to their own employees. Each community has differing strengths and needs, but all have found EAH to be a useful tool to meeting their goals. These communities are: Chicago, Evanston, Highland Park, Mount Prospect, North Chicago, Northlake, Riverdale, St. Charles and South Holland. Peoria and Rock Island are two other cities around the state that have offered EAH benefits to employees. Employers throughout Illinois are eligible for state tax credits for their participation in EAH.
The City of Lockport, a quaint, historic town in northern Will County, will begin offering an EAH benefit in the last quarter of 2009 with multiple uses, bringing the number of municipalities to 10. Mayor Dev Trivedi, City Manager Tim Schloneger, and Lockport’s City Council have been making strides towards increasing economic development in their city of roughly 24,000 residents. In early September, the city council passed a resolution to utilize EAH as a tool to encourage homebuying in the community, as well as to spur new public-private partnerships.
Lockport’s program has something for everyone. City employees will be eligible to receive $5,000 in down payment assistance when purchasing a home in the city they serve. Employers doing business in Lockport who implement an EAH program will be able to help their employees leverage a matching fund from the city for $5,000 for home purchase. Employees purchasing a troubled property (foreclosed home), will receive a $2,500 bonus from the city, for up to $7,500 in assistance.
The Community Service Council of Northern Will County is the local, non-profit housing agency that will provide counseling and administration of Lockport’s program.
Lockport’s leadership in designing a matching fund for EAH is an impressive commitment in line with the city’s economic development progress already underway. MPC and CSC look forward to the next phase of our partnership with Lockport, marketing this innovative benefit to area employers.