How to Know if You Qualify for the Relaunched Down Payment Assistance Program – NBC Chicago


A program to help low-income borrowers access homeownership has been relaunched by the Pritzker administration, with this iteration set to help more than 1,600 buyers with $10 million in financing.

The initial launch of the “Opening Doors” program was in December 2020, when $35 million in funding was intended to help more than 5,800 repeat buyers and first-time buyers with down payment and closing costs. Funding comes from Rebuild Illinois Capital Funds.

The Pritzker administration said reviving the program will help address historic inequities in homeownership, with Illinois residents of color often facing greater barriers to homeownership.

Census data shows that while 75% of white families in Illinois own their homes, the rate of ownership rises to 39% for black families and 53% for Latino families.

A 30-year first mortgage with a fixed interest rate and $6,000 in closing costs and/or down payment assistance is available through the program. Down payment assistance is automatically canceled after five years, with no monthly payment required from the borrower.

Borrowers must meet all eligibility requirements for the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Down Payment Assistance Program, with homebuyer education also required. Eligibility will vary based on the borrower’s credit profile, home purchase price and household income.

To be eligible, borrowers must:

  • Purchase a primary residence, as vacation homes do not qualify
  • Have a credit score of 630 or higher
  • Buy a house in the state of Illinois
  • Have income and purchase price within established limits (determined by lender)
  • Contribute at least 1% to the sale price, or $1,000 (whichever is greater)
  • Have a debt to income ratio of 45% or less

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Elaine R. Knight