Home Buyer Education
Our Homebuyer Education follows the guidelines required by HUD. We offer 8 hours of pre purchase education in the form of homebuyer education, workshops and 1-on-1 counseling. During these classes, we help potential homebuyers prepare to purchase a home that fits their budget, meets their needs, become credit and mortgage ready, and finally close on their home. During our 1-on-1 session, we customize an action plan, review credit and create a spending plan for each individual client to reach his or her goals of financial success and home ownership. Finally, for those clients that are not able to attend one of our workshops, we offer online homebuyer education through our partnership with eHomeAmerica. Our education model is unique among non-profit housing counseling organizations in that it aligns all of the steps of home buying into a goal-oriented, customer-centric, seamless process.
West Cook Advantage (WCA)
Our West Cook Advantage program provides moderate-income buyers with generous down payment assistance on fully rehabbed homes in the suburban communities of Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park. All clients must submit income documents to be reviewed by one of our counselors for approval of the program. All of our buyers a required to have a minimum of $1,000 of their own funds and qualify for a 30 year fixed conventional, FHA or VA mortgage. WCA provides $10K in down payment assistance in the form of a forgivable loan. This second mortgage will be recorded at closing and forgiven over five years. Buyers pay nothing on this loan as long as they live in the home.
Down Payment Assistance Grants
We partner with our preferred lenders and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to qualify buyers for all of their mortgage products and down payment assistance. Other down payment programs available to our clients include Federal Home Loan Bank and various employer-assisted housing programs.
Financial Empowerment (Adults) & Financial Fundamentals (Youth)
Our Financial Empower program aims to improve our client’s financial lives by providing strategies focused on financial matters. We assist in budgeting and spending plans, fostering the use of formal banks and/or credit unions, helping plan for life after retirement, and preventing over-indebtedness.
We created Financial FUNdamentals to teach school age youth important lessons about finances. The WCHC staff leads students in an interactive lesson to help them develop a savings-driven attitude. The program is an interactive dialogue with all students and is improve comedy based. Topics include understanding needs versus wants, “paying yourself first” by saving a portion of one’s allowance before spending it, and opening a bank account. For high school students the curriculum is based on post high school financial decision making ranging from student loans to purchasing your first home.
Foreclosure Outreach Program
OPRHC has worked with the Chicago Community Trust for the past 5 years to provide outreach services for the Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program in western Cook County. This program reaches 13 communities in Western Cook County – The Austin neighborhood of Chicago, plus the communities of Bellwood, Berkley, Berwyn, Broadview, Cicero, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Oak Park, River Forest, River Glen, and Westchester.