Homebuying program off and running at St. James - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Homebuying program off and running at St. James

Dannetta Smith's journey to homeownership through the Employer Assisted Housing program at St. James Hospital and Health Centers took time and a great deal of work.

"I know I can do all things if I stay focused," Smith said.

That sense of accomplishment and security is one of the many intangibles St. James hopes to provide its employees through the EAH program, said Peter Murphy, president of St. James Hospital and Health Centers .

More than 60 Chicago area employers are offering the program sponsored and endorsed by the Metropolitan Planning Council , a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.

In addition to St. James, other companies taking part in EAH programs include Robinson Engineering in South Holland, and the village of Riverdale , said Peter Gunn, executive director of the Regional Redevelopment Corp.

By providing down payment assistance and free homeownership counseling, EAH programs put participants on the path to homeownership, said Susan Thomas, vice president of human resources for St. James Hospital and Health Centers .

Thomas said several employees are in various stages of the process that requires them to stay in the home for a minimum of five years.

"Many are in the credit repair process," Thomas said.

"We're pleased that Dannetta got her home and a good education on how to keep finances in order."

"St. James is delighted to be a part of helping Dannetta achieve her dream and we congratulate her for taking the initiative to complete the program," Murphy said.

"There is value in ensuring our employees can afford to live near work. It allows them to spend more time with their families and in their communities."

Murphy said there are additional pluses to the program.

"Regional congestion is reduced, employee turnover is reduced and the local communities benefit from the investment in housing," Murphy said.

Another St. James employee is currently in the homebuying program, Thomas said.

"We are encouraging our employees to take advantage of EAH by offering quarterly seminars," she said.

"They should come to the seminars and find out more about this exceptional program."

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