Byline: Mark Billings
First-time home buyers, rehabbers and neighborhoods in Elgin will receive a boost in the coming months, thanks to a new partnership between several local nonprofits.
The Elgin Community Network and a newly revamped NHS of Elgin - now called NHS of the Fox Valley - are gearing up for two October programs, and new initiatives designed to bolster first-time home buyers and lagging areas of the city.
According to John Groene, who is splitting time between Elgin and Chicago as the associate director of neighborhood strategy and planning for Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the new organization is striving to create a new vision for community- building in Elgin.
"We hope to build on the past successes of NHS of Elgin and offer expanded loan-servicing products and services to Elgin and the Fox Valley," he said. "We ultimately want to help in revitalizing the community."
The genesis of the new NHS of the Fox Valley started during the fall of 2006, when the former NHS of Elgin invited the Chicago office to discuss a possible merger.
Negotiations spanned more than 10 months, as the two groups determined how the Elgin office could keep its lending and education services in Elgin.
This past June, the boards of directors of both NHS of Chicago and NHS of Elgin approved an affiliation of the two nonprofit housing organizations.
NHS of Elgin formally changed its name to NHS of the Fox Valley and became an affiliate to NHS of Chicago, while retaining its own nonprofit status.
NHS of the Fox Valley will offer services that promote sustainable homeownership, home rehab and affordable lending.
For example, a qualified new home buyer could receive a 30-year fixed loan at 6.5 percent. The group also offers creative loans to people needing money for rehab after purchase. The money is held in an escrow account to pay contractors as the work is completed, said Groene.
He added that NHS of Chicago brings an established track record of lending for home purchase, refinance, and home improvement, as well as consultation and counseling for new home buyers and homeowners at risk of foreclosure. …