Quinn Talks Home Loans, Hiring Lawsuit in Marion

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Ben Jeffords

MARION -- Illinois residents buying a house for the first time could get a hand from the state. Governor Pat Quinn made a stop in Marion Thursday to talk about the new program. This could help low to middle-income families.

It's for first-time home buyers or those who haven't owned a home in more than three years, as well as all veterans. The state is offering cash assistance for down payments and closing costs. The $7,500 would be a forgivable grant, as long as buyers keep the home for five years.
 
Governor Quinn has been touting the Welcome Home Illinois program all over the state. Some of the money comes from his capital project. Aside from cash help, the program would also give home buyers a 30-year-fixed mortgage rate of 3.875 percent.
     
The state housing development authority director says the assistance is geared toward homeowners who have decent credit, but are being rejected by banks because they can only afford to make a small down payment. Since the program was unveiled at the start of the month, there has been a lot of interest.
 
"We have over $50 million in reservations in just a couple of weeks. So I would suggest to anyone that's interested or knows somebody that's interested that they really look into the program and do it soon. It won't be available forever," said Mary Kenny, the IHDA Executive Director.
 
Because of the popularity, officials estimate they'll probably run out of money by early fall. If you have questions or want more information, click HERE.
 
Home loans weren't the only thing discussed at Thursday's news conference. Earlier this week, a Chicago attorney sued Governor Quinn for his hiring practices. In the suit, Michael Shakman cites a 2013 Better Government Association report that said hundreds of jobs in the Department of Transportation may have been wrongfully filled based on clout and not competence.
     
IDOT says at least 50 positions will be refilled. News 3 asked Governor Quinn about the move. 
 
He said, "When I heard about this last summer, I ordered the Illinois Department of Transportation to do a personnel audit to make sure things were being complied with, according to hiring procedures. And I expect them to do that. That's what has to be done."
    
The complaint also stipulates the hiring practices began during Governor Rod Blagojevich's tenure. This accusation is not helping the Quinn's relection bid. Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has been all over the controversy. He is calling on Quinn to release 47 pages of documents related to the lawsuit in the name of transparency.
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