Brian Boyle loves the backyard of his Chicago home
Northwest Side bungalow belt. There are tables, a deck, umbrellas, and an outdoor swing set.
“This is our little paradise. We love it so much,” Boyle said. “We’re on the road constantly.”
The funds for his backyard oasis were via his participation in the Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program, also known as NHEAP, which covers several neighborhoods within the district. Residents pay a tax of around $8 per year included on their tax bill for the property. This money goes to an account. Homeowners can also apply for the equity program to request loans.
Its Northwest Side used to be composed of predominantly white communities
Over 30-years ago, people in the area came up with an unpopular tax scheme to stop white flight. The money remained unused for a long time. These communities today are more diverse in their racial makeup, and housing advocates have demanded changes to ensure that homeowners can benefit from the funds to improve their properties.
The idea behind NHEAP was born following Harold Washington, the city’s first Black mayor, was elected. Many white residents were worried that the value of their homes would fall, which prompted lawmakers in the state to pass a bill that allowed residents of this district to establish an account to receive money when their home’s value decreased. This didn’t happen, and the fund grew to over $9 million.
What are the benefits of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a homeowner?
Most of the time, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not recommended to homeowners who are looking to retain their home. Understanding Bankruptcy is possible to keep your house if you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but it might not be the best option for you. If you have a stable income and you can reasonably expect to pay back the debt over a time between three and five years, while also continuing to pay your mortgage on time or mortgage payments, you should consider Chapter 13 reorganization of your debts may be the best alternative, regardless of whether you’re eligible in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you’re confident that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage payments when your debts that are not secured have been eliminated, you might consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, for instance, your home is in foreclosure or is at the risk of being foreclosed and you are at risk of it, a Chapter 7 filing will halt this process and give you time. While you’re waiting you might be able to sign an agreement for reaffirmation with your lender, which will permit you to resume the mortgage payment and retain your house. If you’re confident about your ability to pay the payments on time and timely manner in the future, you may want to consider Chapter 7. Chapter 7 bankruptcy could potentially be a viable alternative for you.
New administration came into office after pressure from the community changed state law to allow for the fund to lend money
In the past two years, a new administration came into office after pressure from the community changed state law to allow for the fund to lend money. Since then, around twelve households have received loans to fund renovations, repairs, maintenance, or other upgrades. There are loans with zero interest that can be used for as much as $10,000.
NHEAP President Ivy Ellis said one family found stained glass windows that they could use to replace their old windows.
“Some other changes I’ve observed are that people have constructed their basements, furnaces, and people have used it for an electric furnace.” Thus, Ellis says that what individuals can do to improve their homes isn’t restricted.
The loans are beneficial for homeowners, but they also benefit neighbors because they help keep homes in good condition. However, some housing advocates have been pushing to get more loans to help stabilize the neighborhood beyond the aesthetics and maintenance of homes.
“What we observed during the pandemic, and what we’re currently seeing is that not just are people in danger of being evicted and foreclosure, but there’s an issue with the people not being able to pay their property taxes in particular older people and disabled, and people of ethnicity,” said James Rudyk of the Northwest Side Housing Center.
In response, the state legislature approved a change to the law in the summer. Homeowners will benefit from the program by obtaining loans to pay for late property tax payments. It will take effect in January.