Neighborhood Lift offers grants to help first-time homeowners with down payments

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The Neighborhood Lift program helped potential home buyers in Cook County with grants toward down payments.

A program designed to make the dream of home ownership a reality for Cook County families gave out its first grants Friday.

Neighborhood Lift will give out thousands of dollars in grants to help families make down payments on homes in the Chicago area.

Ivan Navarro, 26, was among hundreds who attended a two-day event at McCormick Place in hopes of receiving a grant.

To qualify, participants had to earn less than $67,000 per year and qualify for a first-time home mortgage. Those who met the requirements received $15,000 toward a down payment.

"Hopefully something good comes out of this," Navarro said.

Neighborhood Housing Services helped prospective homebuyers through the process. Grant money was provided by Wells Fargo, which is working to rebrand its image after the housing crisis.

"Succeeding financially, really homeownership, is a big piece of that. It's all about building wealth," said Kimberly Smith-Moore of Wells Fargo's Lift Grant Programs. "We go into communities to revitalize communities and to help communities get healthy and stay healthy."

Social worker Cynthia Griffin, 58, said she has always wanted to own a home and is finally ready to do so.

"I'm so glad to be here, it's like winning the lottery," Griffin said.

There are no appointments left for Neighborhood Lift, but the program will accept walk-ins Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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financehomeownersgranthousingChicagoNear South Side
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