Rock Island's 600th Homebuyer
October 04, 2013
The effort to strengthen neighborhoods in Rock Island has reached a milestone. On September 30th, the 600th buyer assisted by the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation, closed on a home in the city.
Brian Hollenback, president of Renaissance Rock Island, says the program began in 1998 when the Growth Corporation merged with Breach Menders. And since then more than 9 1/2 million dollars has been invested in the city through down payment, closing cost, and rehabilitation assistance.
"It's a tremendous tool for stabilizing neighborhoods. It creates employment opportunities for the renovation. And it certainly strengthens Rock Island's tax base because when we looked at some of the properties and made the initial improvements, then the assessments would go up on the homes as well."
And a key feature of the program is home-buyer counseling and financial education for all participants.
"Even though we went through some pretty hard times over the last few years, our percentage of success remained high and we had very few delinquencies."
Hollenback says many of the participants work for major employers in Rock Island, including the city, the school district, Augustana College, Jumer's Casino, and Trinity Hospital. The 600th homebuyer is Shwe Nay and his wife Mu Mu - he works for Jumer's Casino.
(photo is of Shwe Nay and Mu Mu, courtesty of RI Economic Growth Corporation)