Homebuyer Assistance Program Accepting Applications
June 17, 2016
Chicago Home Buyer Assistance Program is now accepting applications from families and individuals looking to buy a home in Chicago or refinance an existing mortgage. The program helps make home ownership possible for working families and individuals by providing support for down payment and closing costs.
The program currently has three approved lenders/servicers now accepting applications: Guaranteed Rate, American Financial Network and Home Trust Mortgage. These lenders now are accepting and processing applications. Guaranteed Rate was the first approved lender/servicer to make the program available to residents.
The program will assist a broad range of families and individuals that include middle- and low-income households looking to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. First-time home buyers must complete a home buyer education course when participating in the program. Depending on loan type, qualified home buyers can have an annual income limit of up to approximately $133,000.
Through the program, qualified buyers may receive a grant for up to 7 percent of the total loan amount. For example, for a loan amount of $250,000, a borrower could receive a grant of no more than $17,500 to cover down payment and closing costs. Qualified borrowers are required to contribute the lesser or $1,000 or 1 percent of home purchase price at the closing.
The City is providing up to $1 million to launch the Home Buyer Assistance Program, which will become self-sustaining over time. The program is administered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which works with the authorized lending institutions.
All buyers must occupy the home as their primary residence and must reside in the property for at least five years before selling or refinancing. If the home is sold or refinanced before that time, the homeowner will have to pay back a prorated amount of the grant. After five years of on-time mortgage payments, the grant is completely forgiven.
To learn more about the Home Buyer Assistance Program and to view a complete list of approved lenders, please visit:
Drug Collection Boxes Now Available at MWRD Facilities to Encourage Safe Disposal and Help Protect Waterways
May 20, 2016
As a result of recent success at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago's (MWRD's) Drug Take Back Day collections, the agency will permanently house drug drop-off boxes at four locations, including one site located in the 42nd Ward:
MWRD's Main Office Building
100 E. Erie Street
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 6:00pm
The new 38-gallon Medsafe drug collection boxes do not accept illegal drugs, liquid containers more than four ounces, sharps containers, needles, syringes, batteries, aerosol spray cans, trash, medical devices, chemicals or other hazardous materials. When making a deposit, users are urged to keep the medications in the original packaging and containers when possible and to place liquid containers inside plastic bags before depositing.
The Medsafe boxes will be located near MWRD police to ensure proper authorities are present at drop-off. If a box is locked, users are asked to return during hours of operation and avoid leaving medication outside the box.
Between April 29 and 30, the MWRD collected 257 pounds of drugs for safe disposal as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Drug Take Back Day. The event, held at the three plants and headquarters downtown, provided a safe, convenient and responsible means for disposing prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications and potential harm to the environment.
Drugs are often mistakenly deposited in toilets and drains that are destined for local waterways. Water treatment facilities are not designed to remove minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals, and the chemicals could eventually wind up in area streams and waterways and have a negative impact on water quality. Numerous studies show significant negative effects that pharmaceutical drugs have on aquatic life.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals before they reach treatment facilities and/or the waterways. The first is to complete the course of treatment as prescribed by the physician. For over-the-counter products, a supply should be monitored and stored in one location at home to prevent the purchase of additional or extras. Homeowners are encouraged never to pour the pharmaceuticals down the toilet or drain, or give or sell them to others. Besides the MWRD boxes, there are various police stations and municipalities across Cook County that allow medicine to be deposited throughout the year. The city of Chicago also collects unwanted medicines 24 hours per day, seven days per week at its police facilities as well. For a complete list, visitwww.mwrd.org.
Universal Preschool Application Helps Families Enroll In Early Learning
May 20, 2016
The city's first universal early childhood online application site, provides parents and families across the city with a comprehensive menu of preschool opportunities available under Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). This new system will improve access for parents seeking a program for their 3- or 4-year old child by helping them identify opportunities open in their neighborhood.
The online system creates a streamlined process, providing comprehensive information on all programs available to families, making it easier to select a program among the City's more than 600 high-quality community-based and school-based preschool programs. By moving the application process online, the administration will reduce barriers and allow parents to complete the application from any computer, tablet or smart phone.
Families of children who will be 3 or 4-years old on September 1, 2016 can now submit applications online for enrollment in fall 2016 early learning programs, and summer programming at select community-based sites. Paper applications will continue to be accepted at Family Resource Centers located at select library sites throughout the City. Notifications for placement in programs for the upcoming school year will begin on June 13th, and applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis, prioritizing families based on need.
For any questions on the enrollment process, or to get assistance with an application, parents are encouraged to call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at 312-229-1690.
2016 Riverwalk Attractions
May 20, 2016
The Riverwalk is nearly complete! Phase 3, the City's final phase of construction to be completed this fall, will extend the Riverwalk from the west side of LaSalle Street to the north side of Lake Street.
The completed portion, between LaSalle and Lake Shore Drive, will have a wide variety of food, beverage and recreational opportunities to enjoy - all within a natural amenity, surrounded by an urban canyon of great architecture.
(photos courtesy of City Photographer Patrick Pyszka)
The Chicago Riverwalk features an exciting new concession lineup for the 2016 season. Vendors will officially operate on the Chicago Riverwalk from May 30 - November 1, 2016, though some may have already opened for the season.
To view a dining and activity map of the Chicago Riverwalk, click here.
Chicago Farmers Market Season
May 6, 2016
Chicago Farmers Markets, presented by COUNTRY Financial, open in the spring (through October) at locations throughout the city's neighborhoods. The markets, managed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), will sell fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers, as well as other prepared food items. A complete list of city-run and independent markets, along with dates and times can be found atchicagofarmersmarkets.us.
Downtown Farmers Markets:
Daley Plaza- Washington and Dearborn *
Thursdays, May 12 - October 27; 7am to 3pm
Federal Plaza- Adams and Dearborn *
Tuesdays, May 17 - October 25; 7am to 3pm
Green City West Loop - 211 S. Peoria
Saturdays, June 4 - October 29; 8am to 1pm
SOAR Farmers Market - 220 E. Chicago
Tuesdays, June 7 - October 25; 7am to 2pm
Printers Row - Polk and Dearborn *
Saturdays, June 25 - October 29; 7am - 1pm
Willis Tower Plaza- 233 S. Wacker *
Thursdays, July 14 - October 17; 7am - 3pm
This year, a select number of City of Chicago-managed market locations will accept LINK (*) and will distribute double value coupons with every LINK purchase.
For a full list of all City of Chicago managed markets as well as over thirty-five independently run markets in the city, visitchicagofarmersmarkets.us.