Freeport 815-235-2111 — Galena 779-214-0461 — Galena Territory 815-777-3100

It is the beginning of a new year and many people are setting goals for 2017. If your goal is to become a homeowner in 2017, I want to let you know about an organization that might be able to help. HomeStart is a HUD approved non-profit housing counseling organization located right here in downtown Freeport. It just might be the best kept secret in town! HomeStart is part of the National NeighborWorks Network and they work with people to help them attain their housing goals.

They accomplish this in two ways. They help people become homeowners by providing support, guidance and education about the home buying process. HomeStart also helps connect people to down payment assistance for those that qualify. Since the organization merged in 2013, they have assisted almost 700 first –time homeowners achieve the Great American Dream. Studies have shown that people who receive homebuyer counseling and education are statistically more successful than those who don’t.

HomeStart also helps people with sustainable home ownership when there is a foreclosure pending. They have several options available in this situation, the newest being the Illinois Hardest Hit Program. This program focuses on home owners that have lost income through no fault of their own such as unemployment, underemployment, death of a spouse or divorce. If you are eligible and have not received these funds in the past, the program provides funding for mortgage assistance to help people keep their homes. HomeStart is a sponsoring organization and helps with completing and submitting applications for assistance.

HomeStart also assists people with accessing the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) rural housing programs. There are two types of loans

available: one for home improvement and one for home purchase. The staff will meet with applicants, explain the programs and help complete the application package.

These are just a few of the programs HomeStart offers to individuals that live anywhere in Northern Illinois. If home ownership is your new year’s resolution, let HomeStart help you make it happen. They have offices in Rockford and downtown Freeport at 27 W Stephenson St. You can visit their website at or call them at 815-232-6197.

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