Washington Square New Homes Project
The site of the Washington Square Development for the City of East Chicago is appropriately named after Washington High School that stood proudly from 1919 until the final graduated class graced its marvelous stages in 1986. The magnificent building was later demolished paving the way for a community of new homes.
Home ownership is the American dream of home and people are saving as much as possible to achieve home ownership. Potential home buyers and first-time buyers are the most optimistic. First-time home buyers are crucial to the housing market and the overall economy in the East Chicago community. They feel they are investing in the community which has enabled their family to grow. Home ownership also spurs more new construction, generating additional jobs.
Single Family Homeownership Initiative
The City of East Chicago, through the leadership of Mayor Anthony Copeland and its Department of Redevelopment, shifted focus from an already successful multi-family housing development strategy in the North Harbor area of East Chicago to a single family homeownership initiative. This initiative is designed to aggressively increase homeownership in the City.
The new homeownership initiative will provide construction of new housing units and the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing housing stock for homeownership beginning in the North Harbor and Calumet Neighborhoods. Abandoned and foreclosed properties owned by banks will be targeted first for acquisition, rehabilitation and resale as a part of this redevelopment strategy. These resale and new properties will be eligible for new homebuyer incentives that will serve not only to revitalize a neighborhood, but also increase the value of the properties surrounding the new construction. This program will be federally funded by the HOME Investment Partnership Grant, Community Development Block Grant dollars and other non-federal funds.
New Homes Constructions
Mayor Anthony Copeland and the Department of Redevelopment successfully negotiated land acquisition in order to construct six brand new all brick high quality homes located on the corner of Parrish and Columbus Drive. The homes designs are Tri-levels and two-story all brick, three bedrooms, two plus baths, with an attached two car garage and stainless steel appliances.
The City of East Chicago will provide a no interest second mortgage of up to $25,000 to assist with the purchase of the newly constructed homes in the City of East Chicago. The second mortgage will be a 10 year forgivable loan, with equal percentages forgiven each year until year 10. However, if the home is sold anytime during the 10 year period then a pro-rated amount of the forgivable loan shall be repaid to the City of East Chicago at the time of sale. In addition, employees of the City of East Chicago are actually eligible for up $30,000 in down payment assistance under this program
For persons interested in purchasing a pre-existing home, the City of East Chicago will provide down payment assistance of up to $10,000 toward the purchase of a reconstructed or existing home located in the City of East Chicago. The down payment will be a five year forgivable loan, with equal percentages forgiven each year until year five years after the loan closes. However, if the property is sold within the five year period, then a pro-rated amount of the forgivable loan shall be repaid to the City of East Chicago at the time of sale. In addition, employees of the City of East Chicago are actually eligible for up $30,000 in down payment assistance under this program.
Prospective applicants must be pre-approved for a mortgage. There are lenders approved as participating partners in the City of East Chicago's down payment assistance program, however, prospective applicants can choose to utilize other financial institutions. Participating lenders include:
- BMO Harris Bank
- Centier Bank
- Citizens Financial Bank
- Peoples Bank
- PNC Bank
- Standard Bank
Applicants must complete the eight hour Homebuyer Financial Education Workshop program provided through the Department of Redevelopment prior to receiving the down payment assistance. The Homebuyer Financial Education Workshop is designed to prepare homebuyers for homeownership, provide credit counseling if needed, and to assist families even after they have completed the ownership process.
The City currently partners with builders to build attractive, high quality houses that are designed to blend in and enhance the value of homes of a neighborhood. Mayor Anthony Copeland will be making announcements in the near future about new programs that will directly have an impact on neighborhoods throughout the City. This effort will bring stability and enhance neighborhoods and encourage participation in this comprehensive housing effort.